I could just keep going, making and drawing and staggering about in the fog of thoughts and ideas as mentioned in the previous post. And I do do this a lot, there is a joy in it, and even purpose. Just letting my hands get on with it and seeing what ends up in front of me, repeating, waiting for mutations to happen naturally… up to a point.
But then every now and again I feel the need to review where I am… refer to the gps… take a look at the view from the mountain before moving on.
My way of doing this is: I covered my table with (cheap) paper (someone gave me a roll of A2 printer paper, quite thin). I rolled it out, taped it together, then turned it over so the whole of my tabletop was writeable. Then all of the thoughts in my head were written down on it. I’m not going to post a photo of this because some of it is private and personal. I write about how I like to work, what I’ve made, connections and running themes. I go away and return and write more. I draw connecting lines, and draw boxes and circles around certain words. The table is covered. Then Helen came to visit. We sat drinking tea and she said “what do you do with this now?” I wasn’t really sure. In the past, the next thing to work on has become obvious as I’ve worked on the task. This time there was no clear way forward but lots of common strands. This was a review, a map of where I’ve been over the last year. It included thoughts about the retrospective exhibition, and recent ideas about my return to observational drawing. Helen suggested I ask three things: 1) what am I making/how do I want to carry on making? 2) what concepts, themes and concerns am I thinking about? 3) does that illuminate/ reveal/ demonstrate/ evoke some sort of result or response?
She suggested I formulate the answer to these into one question or mission statement.
It seemed fitting to do this in a way that emulated my practice in some way, so I typed up all of the words I had jotted down in response to these three points, in no particular order, not in sentences, I printed them out, and cut them up. I then spent the evening shuffling them about until I found my question. Of course this may change as I work, but it is a really useful starting point. I shall write it up on my blackboard in the studio, as a guiding principle for a while. It will be interesting to see if and how it affects what I do.
Thank you for your guidance Helen.
How can the practice of subverting the proper-ness of traditional observational drawing, through subtle or gradual abstraction, signify and convey the unsettling feelings of rootlessness?