Presenting a diverse range of media and techniques, On Your Mark continues our exploration of the artist’s impulse and compulsion for drawing. Our primary interest has been to engage collectors and patrons with a deeper look at the artist’s process and to expand this conversation through process- oriented exhibitions, interactive gallery talks, artist studio tours, and Art-E, an educational program for children and adults.
With very different intents and results, Marlene Vine and Gwyneth Leech approach drawing as a dialogue between mark making and the surface, beginning with an initial response to the first touch of ink, graphite or paint. Obsessively building, layering and obliterating through memory, observation and working from within, the images take on a life of their own. Guided by the process of liing and lowering pen and fluid acrylic, Marlene Vine saturates her two-dimensional paper with dense layers of tonalities within a tight, confined space. Shaped by Vine’s movements and energy, each unique, organic abstract composition emerges from an intricate web of varied and repetitious lines that flow, form, cover and reveal. Drawing the viewer into unanticipated meditative, explosive, and emotional images informed by a single primary mark, Vine also invites a journey into the physicality of her process.
Combining traditional and non-traditional materials including Faber Castell brush pens, gel pens, white-out pens, Sumi ink, oil or acrylic paint with encaustic, Gwyneth Leech’s Hypergraphia cup series began as a casual outgrowth of her compelling urge to draw wherever she is. One day, without a sketchbook handy, Leech used what was available in the moment. The curved form, challenge of working with existing shapes, colors, and text, and the infinite possibilities of expressive variation became as addictive as the caffeinated beverage the cup once contained. Raising issues of consumerism, post-consumer waste and environmental concerns, the cups are essentially about the act of drawing. Leech’s interest in fractal paerning, the fragmenting and meandering of memory and life itself offers an expansive, flowing, boomless well of imagery, from figurative cityscapes, flora, fauna, mythological winged creatures, and dance performance to jazzy abstracted aerial marsh views, biomorphic forms and purely non-objective design. Unlike working on a flat plane, drawing in the round also affords a connectivity of shapes and continuous movement. Before any drawing begins, Leech records the date, location and related circumstances on the boom of each cup aer it has been rinsed. Inspired by the nearly extinct art of leer writing, an integral extension of this project is Leech’s blog, which can be followed on-line at www.gwynethsfullbrew.com.
Before applying a systemic painting process, Rebecca Riley uses drawing as a bridge to connect the lines of rivers and streams from random pieces of maps. Her organic composite compositions form templates to create new worlds, each a kind of living organism, its growth directed, misdirected, and sometimes out of the control of its human inhabitants. An extension of Riley’s fascination with the systems, structures and paerning found in molecular and cellular levels, the initial act of drawing strengthens the relationship between parts and how the interaction of these parts affect the system’s growth.
Originating with the expressive sweep of calligraphic strokes, Wei Jia’s work is inspired by traditional Chinese characters and poetry, as well as by western artists such as Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko. While traditional calligraphy is brushed onto the surface of paper or silk, Wei Jia applies numerous tactile layers of Xuan paper onto canvas as if it were pigment. Oen ripped to produce texture and ambiguity of association, the strokes have recently become looser and more abstracted,melting into marks and layers as landscape on canvas that let the viewer’s eyes travel with their own journey. By rendering the characters void of literary context, he explores the abstract beauty of its shapes, curves and the varied velocities of stroke by a particular master’s hand, while offering the universal cross- cultural experience of how one perceives an unfamiliar language. In this series produced at his Beijing studio, Wei Jia explores traditional Chinese poetry and sensation toward nature and his everyday life.
Annysa Ng’s intricate ink drawings of Elizabethan collars are rendered in such a precise, obsessive way, that one can feel its chokehold, yet the dots she uses to form the collar are extremely subtle and delicate. Clothed in combinations of European and traditional Chinese costumes, Ng’s flat, featureless silhoueed female faces devoid of emotion and character are not cross cultural, but reference the history of female suppression in Hong Kong, as well as the paradox of constructing a hollow identity through outer embellishment and status.
Drawing with touch, rather than with ink or graphite, Lin Yan’s recent work includes casting Xuan paper fibers into increasingly more sculptural reliefs with figurative spiritual imagery from folk art and industrial elements that reference inner and outer worlds. Freeing herself from all convention, Lin Yan continues to layer and make use of Xuan paper’s contrasting qualities of delicacy and strength, translucence and opacity and its broad range of absorbency. A response to recent man-made disasters that destroy not only the natural world, but also humanity, this new series of flowing, cloth-like compositions breaks with the geometric structures usually associated with many of the cast architectural forms. Minimalist emotional fragments of everyday life combine urban materials with organic cycles that speak to the continuing struggle between nature and global industrialism.