mercredi 28 octobre 2015

Disappearing subject.

ink, emulsion on paper 65x50cm.


                                                       ink, emulsion on paper 65x50cm



                                                    ink and emulsion on paper. 65x50cm

ink and emulsion on paper. 65x50cm

I am spending time drawing, looking hard but trying to make the subject the drawing and not the thing observed and it isn't in any way an excuse for not being able to engage with the thing observed, in this case a tree in my garden, or rather this part of my garden which abuts the tree.

While I am drawing I am asking myself what it is that I want to happen and if I am at all successful will the subject of the drawing become the drawing itself and will the other subject disappear and so a transmutation of sorts  occur and so a new thing made.

So it was of great interest to me to be lent a copy of John Berger's The Shape of a Pocket and read about the subject disappearing. He cites among other things two very different artists, with different approaches to drawing, Leon Kossoff is one; Vija Celmins the other.

He suggests that the painter is continually trying to discover the place which will surround and contain his present act of painting but that the trouble is that when a painting fails to become a place, it remains a representation or a decoration. However when, if, a painting becomes a place there is a slim chance that the face of what the painter is looking for will show itself but the longed for return look can never come directly to him, it can only come through a place.

What any true painting touches is an absence - an absence of which without the painting, we might be unaware.

This example of absence is also to be found in the Fayum portraits: and in the making of these there is an acknowledgement of the exchange, a reciprocity.

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