Sunday, 9 May 2010

on drawing VI

There is a home in my mind for the drawings of Louise Bourgeois. I feel that I must take inspiration from her practice of drawing daily. I have discovered that she also used words in much of her work. This I find intensely reassuring, as I do the uninhibited spirit in which she made drawings.
I am myself immensely inhibited, at present paralysed by fear and unable to work. It is therefore a relief to find that I can admit the drawings of Louise Bourgeois to my mind and not feel completely overwhelmed by them, but rather invigorated.
The impulse to write and the impulse to draw have become separated for me, and I have become confused regarding their status in my work. This is why I have retrieved the floor texts to look at, and returned to the polaroids taken of Patrick engaged in our chalk line game. I am trying to be aware of and respect these impulses, and not immediately crush them before they have an opportunity to register in my conscious mind, for I find that often the impulse to draw begins with what amounts to a desire in the fingertips to take up a particular instrument, and a resurfacing of the remembrance of the tactile qualities of particular papers. For example, I imagine and remember the feel of charcoal in my fingers, and the unique way it yields under the pressure of contact, and can hear in my mind the sound of its transference to the paper, yet I have not used charcoal for years.
I have not allowed myself the opportunity to explore the sensuous in terms of my drawing, at least not recently. I am deeply afraid, so afraid of failure, that I have become bound to using only one kind of paper, of only one set of dimensions, and to the practice of not drawing directly upon the surface of the paper, but of using an interface upon which there is drawn an image to be transferred. Confronted by the self sufficient beauty of a new sheet of watercolour paper, upon which it has become my practice to make a drawing, I panic, put away the sheet of paper, and turn in despair from a way of working that had been so important to me.
The process of persuading oneself that a drawing can be made on "any kind of paper and in any medium", (quoted from the current Arnolfini exhibition guide) despite countless successful examples of the work of others made by these principles, is slow and arduous. As such is the process of reintroducing oneself to the idea that written text can function as a drawing, and that words can themselves be incorporated into drawings.
I have never yet felt such a profound sense of crisis regarding my work and my practice as a visual artist, although I have experienced periods of utter sterility throughout the course of my life.

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