May – August 2007
A Series of 10 ink drawings on 300gm Fabriano Paper.
In these ink drawings I continue to develop an interest in the extremes of representation and visual metaphor. The aloe plants are represented with an acute awareness of their individual characteristics and particularities. This part of the work is executed laboriously as I’m drawn into the intricacy of the particular, local, specific and unique. Each curl or crease or tonal shift suggests a depth of experience that is recognized and engaged in the focused, meditative process of drawing from observation. The specificity of individual experience celebrated in the aloe drawings, draws away from the centre, the political, the generalized and the dominant. Engaging, through the drawings, with the minute is a kind of resistance to aspects of contemporary life that demand broad and generalized, impersonal ways of interpreting the world. Classing and categorizing, mapping and establishing rules and governance denies the intimacy of individual experience and threatens the integrity of the individual.
Each aloe drawing is twinned with a very different drawn component: Stylized, schematized and simplified line drawings function as references to the role of drawings as universal signifiers. These line drawings, gleaned mostly from 20th Century self-help manuals, suggest ease of interpretation and common human readings. But of course the schematized drawings, as well as the words in the works individual titles, are reinterpreted and redefined each time they are ‘read’ by a viewer, so questioning the idea that there can ever be such a thing as a ‘universal symbol’.
The aloes are specimens from my garden – dug up and temporarily transplanted into my studio. The subjects for the drawings are generated, as always in my work, by investigating personal experience. My initial personal ‘meaning’ starts the process of interpretation and re-interpretation that becomes the extended ‘meaning’ of this series of works.
1 September 2007