Joe Fyfe’s latest series of drawings originated when he found a roll of damaged handmade paper at an outdoor market in Vientiane, Laos. He was not aware at the time of his discovery that pristine sheets of the same paper-
some which where imbedded with leaves and twigs and manufactured locally-were readily available in art stores in NYC and elsewhere. He liked that the paper was already sun and water-damaged, similar to the distressed and unevenly primed burlap he was using as a painting ground at that time.
Fyfe originally applied watercolor to the paper, but over time reworked many of the sheets by tearing holes in the paper and replacing it with other papers, pieces of fabric and other materials. Alterations always maintained the integrity of the single sheet so that added elements were never pasted on the surface but always pieced in. This affected both sides of the paper and resulted in some of the drawings being finished when the artist decided that the reverse side was the better side.
A number of drawings-in-progress were always packed with his other belongings when the artist traveled, and they were often worked on in rented rooms in parts of Southeast Asia, some were accidentally left behind in these rooms. The artist likens the drawings to travel journals or notebook pages, where ideas and remembered events are jotted down and revised informally.