First up, gathering in front of the screen, on the stools, to find out what's in store: the investigation of truth and non-truth. This week, looking for "truth" in drawing via automatism, a practice used by the surrealists. Lots of information in Mario's introduction to the subject - and good discussion in response to thoughtful questions. There was a feeling in the air of minds being stretched ... or was that just inside my own head? Names mentioned ... Andre Breton (and the surrealists), Mallarme (and symbolism), Freud (and dreams) - cubism, dada - Pessoa's 79 heteronyms, Madge Gill, Henri Michaux, ShaoLan Shueh's Chineasy, Susan Hiller, David Jajajel's asemic writing, Austin Osman Spare (pix here), Unica Zurn, the French-Canadian Automatists, including Jean-Paul Riopelle; Ellsworth Kelly's pine branches, Debbie Locke's collaborative drawing machines.
We sat in pairs at tables and worked in silence, with lights dimmed and glasses off and/or eyes closed, the partner helping by moving the paper if necessary to keep out drawing on the page. Various materials were available. When both had had a turn, up came the lights and we looked at what we'd produced -
After that, a chance to work larger, or with different materials, on our own -
cubomanie ... maybe next week ...
I did - and do - feel, though, that there's some way this can be useful to me. Experience shows that the things most struggled with are those that suddenly become possible and even useful, desirable.
During the week I was aware of the "truth" issue and found some relevant serendipity. First, in the Drawing Projects book, words to the effect that a drawing is an approximate revelation of a perceived situation. (So, it's unlikely to be "truthful" as perception has so many shortcomings, oversights, and pitfalls; and then there's the skill and/or intent of trying to reveal it.)
And this account of an essay (by Lucia Berlin) about truth in writing, in developing a fiction.
Week 2 - non-truths, ambiguities, and illusions. Good to see slides of the history of cubomanie and of various illusions. Names mentioned... Gherasim Luca, who invented cubomania; Christopher J Lee, who put the original poster beside the cubomanie; Andre Masson; anamorphosis, eg the skull in Holbein's The Ambassadors; ambiguities like Kaninchen und Ente 1892, All is Vanity 1892, My wife and my mother in law 1915, contour rivalry, figure-ground (a good example of which is Phoebe Morris, Peter and the Wolf) -
So many possibilities! Rather than excitement, I felt panic - so little time! I quickly decided to cut a grid through several pages of a magazine and rearrange the squares and see what happened.
|A convenient grid|
|Cutting through layers of magazine pages|
|Using inks - including splatters and blobs - as a basis for collage|
(subconsciously making the page work as a whole*)
Then it was time to go round the room -
|Wish I'd done one of these|
|... or these (which you won't get much idea of; the photo is a prompt to my memory) ...|
|... but it was Liz's grid - and how she used it for tracing - that was most inspiring|
|Note the use of the ink splatters!|
Since then I've done other collages and tracings, but this post is long enough already (and has taken as long to write as was spent in the classes), so they'll have to wait.
But I'll round off with another useful technique, using a viewfinder - in this case the camera, close up. These are from the automatic drawings -
They might yet find their way into a tracing. But ... how to develop those tracings? They have become a form of automatism in themselves - my mind feels quite empty when I'm doing them.
* Also subconsciously I'm planning a possible quilt with this - using a scattering of the big dark blocks (indigo dyes?) pieced into a light background (off-white damask?), with the smaller brighter pieces either pieced in or appliqued on. Lighter pieces in the dark areas, darker in the light areas ... counterchange ... but none as dark as the blocks or as light as the background - midtones for the small bit. Bright, though! It could become chaotic, so perhaps some further colour restrictions need to be added into my "rules".
As for the "why fabric, isn't paper easier" question - it would be interesting to see how the method of putting the fabric together differs from using paper, how much more careful the design has to be to make it possible to sew rather than glue. For instance, what would you need to do to inset the lower red piece on the right? How much extra effort would be needed to piece the entire top, rather than use applique? (Lots!) What would you do about the quilting - would those french knots be enough (a variation of tying a quilt?) or would you stitch around each bright little square - perhaps using the stitching that holds the applique as part of the quilting?
(This post is linked to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Fridays)