Large Drawing (in progress 03-2010 – )
36″x30″ • pencil on paper
It’s been a little more than a year since I started making the box drawings: some months working ferociously with a few stretches of lonely weeks between marks; but all the same, working. I’m not one to talk about my work on the daily, so I haven’t had a lot of conversations about the drawings, but tonight I was talking with a close friend about the idea of applying for graduate school and I realized how much work I’ve done mentally without vocalization.
The boxes are nothing short of marks on paper. How they react to one another is simply a matter of chance. Friend asked me if there was aesthetic consideration with each of the marks, and while I suppose there is little one can completely avoid, mostly I do not make enormous decisions by way of aesthetics.
“What’s done is done.” I told him. I pointed out that each mark is to be left as it is drawn. I do not go back and edit; rather, I work with what has been presented. This ties closely to my lifestyle as well. The overall outcome is not predicted, and certainly not expected. With even small pieces taking nearly a month to complete, this large piece, which I started in March, has tested the limits of my patience.
Friend noted the likely need for patience, which I hadn’t realized until he mentioned it. Typically, I don’t consider myself a patient person, though in some ways I don’t mind waiting. But upon disucssion, I realized that these drawings really do require me to be both patient and present with the work at all times. This fits directly into the Buddhist manner, in which these works are deeply rooted.
Further, while working on a drawing, I am concentrating only on a very small section at a time, maybe no more than 4 inches by 4 inches. In the case of my most recent drawing 36×30″, the small sections on which I am working can’t possibly relate completely to the entire drawing, though, in the end, because they are, after all, only marks, they come together in a cohesive nature. Again, this falls in line with my lifestyle. I believe tremendously in focusing on small areas, working toward the bigger whole.
Considering aesthetics for a moment, while I’m working on the small areas, I do consider aesthetics. As much of the work is relating to ideas of accumulation, congestion, open spaces and barriers, there are immediate considerations made that depend solely on the mark made before it. Sometimes the pencil is sharp and will create a thin, dark line; when the pencil is dulling, it creates a thicker, softer line. The aesthetics play on the chance between the pencil and the paper. In this way, I am only the mediator of an event. To even attempt to control it becomes disastrous, as I once tried to control it, only to find that the end result banal. So now I leave it exclusively to chance and process.
Individually the marks are opportunists. They find loopholes, small areas into which they can squeeze or hide, or possibly even infiltrate. Some marks want to be left alone, solitary, light, quiet. They prefer room to breathe; they are not so hotheaded. Their parts are equally important as the opposite voice in their community of marks.
The marks have now infected other materials. I have started to embroider squares onto linen. The play between fibers is a natural foundation for this activity. When the marks become too unruly on paper, I simply move to the cloth; when the cloth tires, I move to paper. In some ways, they are the same thing: paper is a type of cloth, and thread easily transitions to line-making.
The simplicity of the marks allow me to explore different variations of form through materials. As I have always truly enjoyed diversity of materials and lost crafts, specifically crafts associated with gender, I am finding the marks to offer a variety of opportunities for expansion.