Art is about lots of things, communication, expression, paying attention.  It is also about making something visible that might otherwise remain unseen.  One of the things that interests me is making visible the passage of time and the invisible structures that govern our lives.  Of the seasons that structure the Christian year, Lent is perhaps the time that is most familiar to everyone, faith or none.  I wanted to mark the time of Lent in a positive way, not just giving up something but creating something.  I wanted to make a visible reminder of this particular time.  The drawings are evidence of time I spent in the studio between certain dates in 2013.  Of course then came the question of what to draw? I didn’t want to have to think too much about it – as I wanted it to be part of my meditation during Lent – so I needed to find a structure that was repetitive but could also be different each day.

The grid of 40 rectangles refers to the 40 days of Lent. Repeating this each day meant that the whole time of Lent is acknowledged, but that each day is different.  So the drawings are individually different but together they become more significant and perhaps that’s true of this time that we call Lent. We don’t look for something extraordinary each day, but perhaps in our observance of it faithfully throughout the 40 days, we find at Easter that something significant happened to us during that time.

The drawing of the grid, measuring it out each day became a meditation, a focus. Then the application of the graphite, sometimes in lines, sometimes using a dust, paying attention to what might be there, what might arise from the page.  The creative process is always a to-ing and fro-ing, between a meditative time, of immersion in what you are making, and a stepping back, paying attention, seeing what has been made.

The choice of graphite and eraser was to limit my choices, to remove all colour. The use of the eraser was linked in some way to loss, that I made an image and then rubbed some of it out, but in doing so made something else.

Drawing and painting are, for me, always about the process and the journey. The drawings are a record of that journey – and this shows a journey through Lent , through days that are the same yet not the same, usually rather unremarkable, but sometimes something unlooked for happens – it’s all about paying attention.

Each week seemed to gain it’s own focus – a particular method of mark making and erasure. Then when I reached Holy Week – I felt it became a concentration of all that had gone before, a smaller focus of attention, a narrower focal point.

Edit of talk given at St Mary’s Church, 6.4.14

Paying attention | 2014 | Uncategorized | Comments (0)