21 December 2015

A whale of a drawing

Researching the galleries at Docklands Museum for tomorrow's drawing day, I came across this whale skeleton that had been on temporary display in 2010 (whaling is part of the story of London as a port) -
with a link to an article about Gabriel Orozco's "Dark Wave", a 14m skeleton of a roqual whale that he calls "a drawing" - it's covered in graphite, describing the topography of the object -
"The entire skeleton has been drawn over in black graphite. Sections of concentric circles bend and arc across ribs, zebra-striping massive jawbones and tracking over the uneven, organic forms of the animal's bones. The circles and arcs intersect and overlap, passing around and across the fragmented vertebrae, working their way into the intricacies of the skull and the pelvis, and skittering over the bones of the flippers. Pattern is everywhere, the yellow-white of bone and greasy, shiny graphite black. "
Seeing that brought to mind the - quite different! - work of Lucy Skaer, seen in 2009 show for the Turner Prize - 
The grids contain various depictions of bone; if
you look hard you can make out the shapes
of Hokusai's well-known print (via)
That drawing (which appears in Tania Kovats' book "Drawing Water") was extremely important in my art-life, both for its size and its intricacy. It became the basis of my travel lines and a lot of work in the foundation and MA course. (Between then and now, I had completely forgotten about it!)

Isn't it interesting how you return to the same topics (or themes, or threads) after a long digression elsewhere - or is it that the real thread (or theme, or topic) is something deeper down that you're accessing via the different iceberg-tips that appear, seemingly randomly?

A few months back I came across the great whale hall at the museum in Bergen - via the internet, rather than in person - and somewhere in the subsequent research, found this wonderful photo taken inside a whale skeleton -
 It's under investigation by means of making an ipad tracing -
with a view to, through the action of the hand, finding a way of abstracting "something" about it.

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