The stitched hands on the children’s clothes made for Are You Listening? (MA show) showed the marks left behind. One person on another: adult upon child. The stitches on the bras told the tales of Nine Women, their relationships to each other, how they felt about themselves, the stories of their lives. The stitches and patches on chairs showed the traces and tracks left by passing encounters. A fleeting glance that shows emotion, that stays with us: admiration, lust, contempt, confusion… they all leave their marks.
And now the pen nibs scratch and glide across the surface of the paper and mark it physically, reminiscent of those stitches. Cause and Effect, a relationship between one thing and another that stands for all? Some of the marks I make are bold and unswerving, strident, strong, unyielding. Some are tentative, broken, tangled. They are remnants of drawings done before. They hold the touch of leaves, bark, feathers and hair, water, skin, blood, bone and sinew. Those years of drawings have been experienced, held, absorbed. They’ve sunk in, embedded themselves in memory… mind and muscle… they are in my skin, blood, bone and sinew and now they are leaking out onto the paper.
Every drawing is a metaphor for all of the relationships. The pens make noises on the paper and seek places to stay. So they creep into the songs that tell the tales of the broken and the tangled. Every strange time signature tells of an awkwardness. Every unidentifiable sound seeks to remind of the fleeting nature of those encounters with people whose eyes you catch then walk on by, turn and walk away from. Who was that?
It takes a while, always, for me to understand what I am drawing, writing, making. It takes a decade of work to sink in and be absorbed in a way that can be understood and expressed, with a little clarity…
The lines I draw/write/make connect everything that’s gone before. The lines not yet drawn/written/made are reaching out. They reach out in the hope of touching somewhere, someone else. They are plant tendrils waving in the air to find a touching point upon which to be anchored. A trickle of water finding a path down and through the root architecture that builds and spreads to find it.
We are all seeking contact. We are all seeking a point to touch each others lives. In times of isolation and grief we have to be more imaginative to find ways, but we still do.