Sunday, 8 June 2014

the search for a voice

I think that, in terms of drawing, and certainly not in line with my desires, I have yet to find a voice, although I seem to have discovered one as far as writing is concerned. I feel that I have greater strength as a writer than as a visual artist. For instance; I recall, that, as a graduating student, I did not gain a first class degree for my visual work, but that I did for the piece of theoretical work  submitted (on the deadline), being a short essay upon a particular state of mind, and an exploration into the extreme difficulties I experienced in the production of an academic thesis. I contravened the terms of the requirements, and took a personal, self revelatory stance which served me well, and resulted in a brief, spare document, nevertheless almost approaching the poetic in some passages.

Looking back, I recollect certain shortcomings, especially with regard to the title, and the piece is haunted by my own immaturity, yet, although the article is no longer in my possession, but has been lost, it still remains significant in my eyes, and is a work of which I am able to write with something of a sense of retrospective accomplishment.

Despite my best efforts, I am experiencing grave difficulty with regard to effecting a return to the practice of drawing, the imminent arrival of lovely new papers, ordered for me by my partner,  notwithstanding, and am not at all sure of the direction which I should pursue. It would appear that with the rainbow, volcano and tree drawings, made several years ago, now, I had indeed found the voice of which I write with such yearning, but the powerful imperative which enabled those drawings no longer exists, and I am finding the resumption of drawing clouds all but impossible. I have made some preparatory sketches, and several attempts at making drawings of smoke, but they fail to satisfy me; I can see that they are painfully inadequate.

Perhaps I shall not ever possess a true, consistent and  identifiable voice as a visual artist, despite the unflagging and loyal belief of my partner in this regard, and I speak instead through the words that I commit to this online diary, words of longing for the rightful designation of artist, rather as Susan Sontag wrote of her own longing for the designation of writer. Perhaps my way lies not in the production of drawings of clouds, but in the making of text based pieces, if I am set on pursuing a path in the visual arts. I simply do not know. I recognise that I am compelled to make work that is, as noted above, in some way self revelatory, usually dealing with psychological states,  but I seem better able to articulate doubt and fear, for example, in the form of diary entires, than I am at fashioning drawings.

Why drawings anyway? Why not a different form? Formerly I articulated my concerns through the medium of photography, specifically slide projection pieces, and polaroids, and, until, making drawings in chalk on the garden paths of my parental home, with my then infant nephew, had not drawn for years, believing that I possessed insufficient skills as a draughtwoman. I only made a dedicated return to drawing on paper, when I made a return to art education as a PhD student, and began, in the face of difficulty concerning the " straightforward path", to draw cloud formations. I discovered that I loved paper, especially soft textured printmaking paper, that I loved pencils in equal measure, and overall, that I loved the process of making a drawing.

This afternoon, a bright, windswept afternoon in early summer,  many years hence, it is  however with the greatest reluctance that I contemplate a resumption of the attempt to make drawings of clouds; that I consider returning to the table at which I have been trying to work for the last fortnight, and take up pencil and powder once more. I would rather sit in the cloistered, shuttered cool of the upstairs room which houses the computer, the shining, perfect afternoon lost to me beyond the drawn blinds, and write. I cannot draw as I would wish, and am already sensitive to the feelings of my partner when I confess to him the destruction of all the recently created drawings except two, neither of which shall I show to anyone, much less publish online. Perhaps, in order to save my partner from hurt, I need not confess their loss, although I shall find it difficult to refrain from communicating my sense of despair and disappointment, my desperation to find a voice that is my own, and is, furthermore, a voice for which I can feel a measure of justifiable pride.

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