Contemporary Drawings from Britain

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    I was invited by the curators Marco Carli and Xing Zhang to show nine drawings (drawing is central to my recent research) in the exhibition ‘Contemporary Drawings from Britain’ at the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Xi’an, China. Showcasing estimable examples of contemporary drawing made in the UK, it was the first show devoted to contemporary drawing from Britain to be shown in China. While traditional European drawing has been a foundation for Chinese academic study, this show introduced the Chinese public to recent developments in Western drawing. The show featured David Hockney and Lucien Freud, artists already known and influential in China, but also others, such as Rose Wylie.

    My drawings selected were fundamental to my research, which brought new insights into the representation of landscape. I used images retrieved from everyday digital technologies employed by a road traffic website. Interpreted through a hand drawn process, the finished works uniquely partnered throwaway, temporary images of Icelandic roadsides with art historical dialogues. Implicit in this investigation was the juxtaposition of different perceptions of time: those steeply accelerated (significant concerns in the critical enquiry of both Paul Virilio and Jonathan Crary) through the impact of technologies – presented here through the repeatedly updating, utilitarian website images – and those decelerated, paused by the contemplative, embodied process of making the drawing.

    My investigations into the phenomenology of perception and the embodied process of making (Merleau Ponty) has uncovered a means by which the image is able to reference elements connected to both the landscape and the making of meaning through marks particular to drawing, while tapping into the weight and depth of painting’s history. The images were unique renderings of landscapes on the edge of disappearance, vulnerable to disintegration, caught, through the drawing process, between their unmaking and making – a contemporary experience of landscape.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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