Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peter Owen: Drawing as Mapping

Peter Owen writes about the link between drawing and mapping the often overlooked details of daily life. For more on Peter's work, check out

I make drawings and paintings that are based on my daily experience in urban spaces – my walk to work, the skyline seen from my apartment, the errands run throughout the week. I keep a camera on me all the time, and throughout the day, I document where I am. Each photograph is quite ordinary, but holds significance for the part it plays in the mapping of my life. Details that might be overlooked, such as the curve of a lampost or the molding on a windowsill, are captured so that later on they can be incorporated into minutely detailed compositions. In a way, drawing is like retracing my steps. However, rather than trying to piece together a coherent, objective narrative, I work with layers of imagery. Buildings are overlaid atop one another and allowed to tangle together. Over time the layers obliterate parts of what is underneath, and the composition is woven out of hundreds of these daily recordings. I overload certain sections, and then counterbalance those areas with finely articulated, delicate structures - fire escapes, streetlights, the exposed pipes running through alleys. I am attempting to describe the experience of living in places that are constantly being transformed by construction and demolition.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lili Maya: Drawing with Edges

Artist Lili Maya writes about her series of three works, i hold this-in my hand, in collaboration with Davy Lauterbach. More can be seen on Maya's work at

these days i am working with fragments, with the edges of things and what they suggest about systems (psychological or physical / natural or constructed) -edges bring the work closer to gaps where binaries collapse/blur/integrate/oscillate -where ambiguity may reveal truth.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Leah Cooper: Drawing in Space

Leah Cooper writes about drawing in real space. More can be seen about her work at

As we move through the physical world we are in an unremitting state of receiving observable facts via the five senses. Yet do these objective facts, recorded by the brain, lead directly to knowledge of our surroundings? Or is knowledge of the physical world a construct of human experience and perception? If all facts are recorded but much of what we ‘see’ goes unnoticed, does this mean we are extremely efficient editing machines? My work asks the question, is what we ‘see’ more a result of how we have edited reality? And if so, how does additional or alternative information alter our perception or knowledge of the world?

I am fascinated by the extraordinary world that exists within the smallest detail of the ordinary. In ­The Poetics of Space Gaston Bachelard submits that “The man with the magnifying glass-quite simply- bars the everyday world. He is a fresh eye before a new object”. The discovery and subsequent exploration of inherent, often unnoticed properties of the everyday is the source of my investigation.

My work employs drawing as a strategy to investigate the influence of visual information on a viewer’s subjective perception of object and place. I work outside the traditional notion of drawing as a 2-dimensional representation of the 3-dimensional world; using drawing as a means to iterate rather than illustrate a variable framework of information. If drawing is separated from its assumed role of descriptor, illustration is no longer synonymous with drawing, but rather illustration is just one tactic to be employed to make ideas visible. Subscribing to the notion that visual art is a concrete demonstration of idea; drawing in this context becomes a means towards that end. Drawing is a strategy, whose tactics could include illustration, nomination, or notation and whose materials could extend beyond standard mark makers and paper.

In site-responsive drawings, I respond to a space as-is, drawing throughout the space in order to bring attention to the ordinary and the overlooked. Materials which can include, but are not limited to: tape, graphite, string, objects, t-squares, and rulers are brought onto a site much the same way a carpenter brings tools to a site. Once on site these outside materials become no more or less important than the existing elements of the space; walls, ceiling, fixtures, shadows, and cracks are all employed as materials in site-responsive drawings. Drawings are of the space and the space simultaneously. These iterations, both of object and place, are not static, fixed end-products; possible combinations are vast. Elements iterated begin to show the undrawn as clearly as the drawn; offering a fresh eye to the undiscovered extraordinary world of the ordinary.
Images: Thesis show At Maryland Institute College of Art. Baltimore, MD.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Zachory Mory: Drawing as Process

Sketch Pages gets behind the markmaking of Zachory Mory.
About the Artist
Zach Mory was born in Madison, WI and attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. His focus has been on drawing as long as he can remember, beginning with copying his favorite comic book characters as a kid. He currently teaches a life drawing class at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, draws, and lives with his new wife in Wheaton, IL.

Can you talk about how you use systems to create your drawing.
When I am working on a piece, I try to keep all elements involved very, very simple. I usually use one media, such as pencil or markers, and I usually create very simple marks that I can repeat fairly easily. I also have an idea of where I will begin on a piece and where I will end, though this is certainly not the case for all of my drawings. Maybe a better way of describing this is that I have a vague feeling of what the drawing might be when it's finished. So the word system might be a bit deceiving. Basically, when I begin a drawing I have rules about what mark I am going to use, what media will be employed, and what general direction I want the drawing to develop in. Along the way though, I allow for new decisions and paths to be discovered and followed so that the drawing is not a dogmatic, preconceived sort of thing.

You write that your drawings are like a life. Can you talk about their evolution over time.
That last question is a great segue into this one. The system and rules that I create when I begin a drawing allow me to more easily access the work. It provides for me a tangible starting point. Once I feel comfortable with how a drawing functions and is progressing, everything changes. Unlike someone like Sol LeWitt, whose drawings were really predetermined, visual executions of certain rules and ideas, I want my drawings to take on other qualities that could only be discovered through the process of creation. I want them to grow and change just like a life. Sometimes I feel like a parent who has all of these aspirations for my kid only to see him or her follow their own muse. Cheap metaphors aside, my drawings have a tendency to follow a very different course than I originally intend for them. That is not to say I am a passive observer to this. On the contrary, say I'm working on a drawing for a few months and in the middle of the second month I notice something in the composition that I never anticipated and it's really visually exciting to me. I'll let that change become a part of the work and the drawing then becomes something completely different.

Can you reflect more on the significance of marks in your work.
The marks I use usually don't have that much significance initially, but as I work with a mark more and more it does begin to stand for something larger than its initial intent. Growing up I spent a lot of time doodling in my notebook, as a lot of kids do. I never considered it high art or even good art. They were just little drawings and doodles. I don't think that this mentality has ever really left me. I still doodle and remember old marks I used to make. The difference now is that when I make a small mark or doodle I can sense the possibility of what it could be if I pushed it to an obsessive degree. For instance, I've been using a small cube shape in some of my recent work. This cube is basically the same cube I remember drawing in grade school when I learned how to draw things in a box. Except now when I use that shape, it builds up into this complex sort of architectural structure that reminds me of Atari video games and Star Wars. There is nostalgia in the shape for me and a strange sort of beauty in it as well.
Other times the marks exist as a sort of documentation of time. In another series of mine, I make lines very close to one another and as I make more and more lines, it appears that the drawing is rippling like water. By using a simple nondescript line, I'm able to create a means of conveying time onto paper. You can literally see the drawing progress. All in all, the marks I use exist in a sort of micro/macro duality where they work with one another to create a larger whole.

What role does chance play in your drawings. How do they factor into the life of a drawing.
Chance plays a large role in my drawings. Since I strive for my drawings to develop on their own, I'm constantly on the watch for a mistakeor something out of the ordinary to occur that might enliven the piece. I believe that it is easy to get comfortable with a certain way of working. By this I mean knowing exactly how a drawing will begin and end. This seems very dangerous to me because repeating yourself can be very suffocating. And unfortunately with my tightly controlled means of working, it is something I have to be careful for. So I'm constantly watching out for the slight slip of the hand that makes an interesting mark to help my work along. I've found that by simply paying careful attention to my process and not discounting the unintended as unworthy, that my work constantly changes and evolves. I've often found to that mistakes or slipups in one drawing deserve their own exploration and I'll use that in my next drawing.

Despite using very small marks to build your drawings, your works are large scale. Can you talk about the tension between the micro and macro and their implications.
I really want my drawings to grow, so by working small on a larger scale, the drawing has sufficient time to develop many different paths. I revel in the discoveries and comfort that comes from working on one piece for a long, long time (sometimes upward of 800 hours for one drawing). I believe that there is an excitement in seeing a work that has been worked and labored to obsessive degrees. This tension between micro and macro invites contemplation I believe. It begs the viewer to stay with the drawing for a bit. I hate to admit this, but it is difficult nowadays to get people to really stay and look at a work of art for more than thirty seconds, so maybe somewhere deep down I'm trying to overcome that in some way, but this is getting a bit off-track. Going back to the question of micro and macro, I've noticed a trend in my work. I try to create individuals within larger, complexly organized wholes. The individuals in and of themselves are relatively uninteresting, yet within the whole they become something beyond themselves. Within that whole they become important and even crucial. Beyond that, they become a testament to the time spent in creating the larger picture. You can literally see the time spent in the creation of the drawing. By working on a large scale with tiny marks, that dichotomy becomes very apparent.

What role does patience play as you draw?

Patience is just as important as the pencil or the paper in my work. People seem to talk about patience slightly in the negative or as something to strive for that is difficult to achieve. You have to have patience to endure bad things or you have to show patience with difficult people. I like to think about patience as simply a means to a desired end. You can only get from A to B by actually doing the work, so it is merely a given that if I want to fill a page with 10,000 tiny marks that I'll need to show some patience. So it just is, I guess. There are definitely times when I want to hang up a drawing because I'm sick of making a certain mark or because my hand really hurts. The thought of a drawing in its finished state is quite an inspiration for me. It's what keeps me going actually. Well, not completely. Beer and coffee really help me in this regard too.

Can you talk about what you are working on now.
The big drawing that I've been working on is based on a grid. The grid has become important to me lately as a starting point. I've been filling in the different squares of the grid with different values creating a sort of fuzzy, pixilated, abstract composition. Each square is shaded in a different direction which creates a very strange sort of texture. It's an interesting subplot to the larger story. Beyond that I have about twenty other drawings ready to go in my head that only need time before I can get started on them. The beauty and curse of spending a long time on drawings is that I get a lot of ideas for new drawings, but can't start them for a few years later it seems. Oh well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Andrea Loefke: Materials mix with Imagination

...........once upon a time there was a world: whimsical, humorous, credulous, synthetic, intimate, alien, glittering, soft, innocent, humming and obscure.......... Miniature foam houses, with red staring eyes accumulate on a glittering swathe of land, and communicate to us through a speech balloon on the wall. Fluffy clouds are made of blue styrofoam and are “gasp” raining red string and nearby radiant barrier foil moulds into a mountain range, fenced in with an enormous neon-orange safety mesh and traffic cones.
In my work, fictional narratives, dream worlds with anchors in the real, occupy a space between familiarity and fantasy. The environments are systems – overlapping worlds, groups and subgroups that are juxtaposed and united through scale, color palette, sound, form, space, and material. With the continuous pushing and pulling among the elements of this vocabulary.

I am creating hierarchies of events and narratives, which compete and communicate, while these multiform assemblages often contain a strong sense of quiet foreboding – the primary narrative holds a secondary within. The groupings of objects and their placement within a particular space result in playful, mysterious landscapes, enticing the viewer into visual narrative journeys.

I develop pathways for the viewer to travel. I link micro with macro worlds, encourage a sense of irritation, and implied movement of the objects, and ask the viewer to relate oneself to the objects and the situations they present. I am interested to create a place, with the capacity to crack open a well of associations and allow the viewer to feel, to dream, to fantasize, be irrational, subjective and intuitive. Specific or vague personal memories are awakened. The viewer is asked to weave his or her own story and sensations, to believe and to wonder.

There are no words for what I am going to do. Things come together – one stone goes on top of the next - it feels like building. Materials, found, everyday objects and colorful, decorative supplies overflow the categorized shelves and bins in my studio. In fabricating these fairy-like worlds, I knit, cut, glue, sew, find, draw, construct, select, saw, paint, decorate, carve, combine and mold. Very often I start with a material, a feeling, a color, or a vague image. Obscure, intangible thoughts and sensations collect within my head and my body and step-by-step the work evolves, develops while making. In my work I am going on a journey, seeking to surprise myself.

About the artist

Andrea Loefke was born in Heidelberg, Germany. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Leipzig, Germany. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, including (solo in 2008) “Folding an orange fish out of newspaper”, Downtown Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN; and “Folding an orange fish out of newspaper”, Kasia Kay Art Projects, Chicago, Illinois.
In 2007, Loefke had solo shows at the Michael Steinberg Gallery, New York, NY, and the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York. For more on her work and experience, check out her website at

Images from top to bottom:
1-2. The squirrels, hedgehogs, and rabbits are indeed harmless. November 2007
3-4. I hope you don't mind me talking about the best of both? February 2007.
5-6. Deerstand Series. March-Spetember 2007.
7-8. Folding an orange fish out of newspaper. April 2008.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jacque Liu: Drawing and Place

Treppanhaus. (Staircase.) Graphite. Berlin, Germany.

Vertical Siding No. 1. Mylar, Paper. 24" x 24" x1".

Zugang. (access). Graphite. Berlin, Germany.

What is a Carriage House. Wood, paint, plastic. Detroit, MI. 2007.

Jacque Liu writes about the relationship between drawing and place.

Travel has played an important role in my life. Much of my work - whether site-specific installation or graphite lines on paper or constructing lines with paper itself - stems from a desire to understand the notion of place. This seems rooted in the ever-evolving condition of having relocated around the globe (born in Taipei, Taiwan; raised in St. Louis; two years of adulthood in Germany; four years in Detroit; now living in Philadelphia, et al).

To understand place, my eye gravitates to a more microcosmic scale, often focusing on architectural elements, such as windows, doors, vents, staircases, chairs and abandoned houses in the vastness of a cityscape. My work, following my eye, becomes an abstraction of details within my encountered landscapes.

The process is personal. I recast the imprints of my history of places, but I also re-contextualize a history (whether real or imagined) of the object or site at hand. The idea is to begin with the mundane and to give some new form of engagement to these objects and sites.
More can be seen on his work at

Ismet Jonuzi: Thoughts on Drawing

My drawing sometimes are part of my sculpture and sometimes are as a sketch of my sculpture projects but not necessary.

I try to express my feeling through line and form.

My artistic way is drawing as a start point.

Through drawing I try to materialize my confrontation in the space where I live and move as person, as artist, as a human.

Drawing, sculpture, line, form, and shapes I try to create my vision and my idea.

About the Artist:
Ismet Jonuzi lives in KOSOVA west Balkan and tries to express the how "we" live and die in this part of Europe.