My piece in the ‘Oil Black’ series was worked in an A3 sketchbook using black washi tape and black pens, then lines added with a fine white oil pen. The tape had an oily sheen to it in some lights which seemed appropriate, linking it to the surfaces of Theaster Gates’ wall works and black sticky trails on some large ceramic pots which had inspired the piece.
The materiality of the work was what was most important, the discovery of different black surfaces I had created, revealed as I ruled the oil white lines over the piece.
It was good to find that place that emerged in the yellow tape pieces. (My blog post ‘Yellow’.) It has helped me view the exhibition space in a different way. . . a space where I intend to create an installation for my weekend solo show ‘Under the Radar’. That new understanding, and conversations with my studio colleague have helped me see how I’m able to pare back to the essence. It’s a feeling of freeing up when you know you can discard anything irrelevant and use only things that get to the nub of what you want to say.
Elements in the space disappear into an impression – its atmosphere – sometimes evoking memories that may remain undefined.
This space will aim to reveal a sense of the conditions for creativity, discovery, experiment, communication. Of being in a state or condition to receive, to be aware.
I’m reading ‘In Search of the Essence of Place’ by Petr Kral. The writer’s explorations of rooms in his house as a child lead to the discovery of a different kind of space in the attic; a forgotten space with discarded items of furniture. This is where he can find refuge from the rest of the house, and where he is protected from ‘its protection’.
I switch from the comfortable forms in my studio drawings to my ‘yellow tape’ pieces, using PVC insulating tape on found pieces of white card. In a succession of movements I apply horizontal and vertical lengths. When the last piece of tape is applied it’s like shutting out the last square of light; something is buried, but then the thing within is unearthed, and a ‘light’ goes on within the space I’ve created. It is something that goes beyond a representation of a place.
Kral would at times find himself face to face with ‘the person’ in the bathroom mirror. ‘There was no doubt that this was where the whole mystery lay’. . . ‘trapped in the other room that suddenly appeared behind his double’ . . . Was there any way for him to reach it?’