I tend to always come back to the line work. I find what I respond to and admire in other artists’ work, past or present, is usually the integrity of the line – whether it’s a single stroke or a mass of scribble in the shadows. If the strokes are put down with validity and assurance they will resonate and the piece will vibrate. A fluidity of movement and gesture coupled with a confident, rhythmic ease of delivery is what is consciously and unconsciously felt and appreciated by the viewer. At least that is how I respond to a work.
For me the scale of larger drawings compels a distinct approach—more gestural, almost calligraphic. The act of drawing itself is highly sensual and pleasurable to me. I hurriedly scribble with a writer’s hand in a spontaneously invented language with looping cursive gestures, larger flourishes, and tight punctuations. If the rhythm is there I write my way across the surface as if I were capturing thought in a frenzied rush of note taking.
Creating a full range of tones in the drawings is important. But for these larger pieces it has been crucial for me to create the tonal range by line alone – without smudging and rubbing the charcoal in any way --not unlike that of an etching, engraving or woodcut.
I have chosen subjects with a great variety of textural surfaces: the idea being to draw these pieces life size, with an archivist’s fidelity to scale, scanning the surface of a highly varied landscape from above.
In the Elephant (Umbrella Stands) drawings, with their distinct references to clear cutting and taxidermy, the series headed further toward an ecological and moral imperative and a larger discourse has begun to inform my process. What appears at first glance to be a rather straightforward process of archival documentation expands, perhaps unavoidably and inevitably, to embrace a diverse set of environmental themes.