A few months back, R suggested that the way I’m using line (specifically in the altered books) is perhaps as a form of redaction – as something that obscures or takes away, more than as a constructive mark. I’ve been thinking about this ever since. The drawings I’m contributing in this post are a sort of diversion based on this idea – I was thinking about constructive vs perhaps destructive lines and then that moved on to the idea of line as an indicator of some sort of weakness.
I started by taking a few photographs of lines I felt illustrated what I was thinking, then manipulated these photos, making them black and white and upping the contrast so that the lines would be clearer to draw from. Then I made the drawings from the photographs, focusing on the lines I wanted, but kind of as negative space – so the line traced by where metal and concrete met – one side straight the other chipped and broken – became a void on the page, the surrounding areas filled in just enough to create a contrast – they’re drawings of a certain type of line not of objects per se.
Because I’m developing these drawings in an altered book (volume 2, which is worked over Eric Walter White’s 1948 Benjamin Britten: A Sketch of his Life and Works (London: Boosey & Hawkes) the void of the line reveals the content of the page below – tiny glimpses of layered content – words, letters, musical notation, etc. For me this is suggesting depth to the line – that it could be a fissure, break, chasm. The implications are of fragmentation and division across both horizontal and vertical axes.
The first two drawings here are based on photographs of metal strips set into concrete on Turramurra Station in Sydney. I’m not sure what they’re there for – some sort of hatch maybe? I might need to go back and check – they just caught my eye as I was about to get on a train and I snapped them to work with later. The third is from a photograph of rocks in my parents’ garden and so raised some different ideas – whereas the line in the first two drawings was based on where two different materials meet, the line in this third drawing is based on shadows which indicate where the rock has eroded – it is working with an internal division – self divided from self, as it were, rather than a boundary between self and other.
This is a series I’m continuing to develop and there will probably be more drawings over the next few weeks because I’m finding that every drawing is raising some new ideas for me. I’m not sure where I expect this to end up (or even if I have any intention for it to end up somewhere) but for now it’s prompting new ways of thinking and is a satisfying thing to do in an environment where it’s difficult to work as I normally would, so I’ll carry on.