James Elkins is giving the Carnegie Lecture in Edinburgh Friday and I understand he may use some of my drawings in the event.
James Elkins illustrations..half way through when this photo taken in studio…completed today there 12 in all which will illustrate the 2nd Edition of his book ‘Artists with PhDs’ which has been revised and made larger.I had the pleasure of illustrating my ex-Dean and others. No detailed pictures as want to be surprise in book when it published. Thanks to Jim for allowing me to do this.
This series completes the third drawn sequence that I will be submitting for my M.A. assessment next Wednesday 22nd January. At the age of 55 I will finally get a Fine Art M.A. to add to the B.A. which I received a very long time ago….1981 in fact which 32 years ago! Unbelievable.
Further info. HERE: James Elkins Website
Spent afternoon at studio reading final submitted chapter of the 2nd edition of James Elkins’ ‘Artists with PhDs’. The article was Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield’s ‘Writing as practice: Notes on materiality of theory for practice-based PhDs’. This is a very fitting coda to my never-ending M.A. by research project which I started way back in September 2010 and which will finally end at end of January. It especially pertinant as Dronsfield has supervised at least two ‘challenging’ practice as research PhDs at Reading University and his analysis of art practice as ‘knowledge’ from Ranciere and Nancy points of view is superb in its pinning down of the fundamental fault-line in all art practice as research in terms of the academy.
He goes back to Kant’s third critique to mine into the basis of the ‘compromise’ all fine artists feel when confronting then toppling into the Cartesian well of rules that is the university. Most drown in the essential contradiction of ‘freedom of the artist’ V ‘the academy’ rules. Dronsfield brilliantly excavates the reason for this which present right back in Kant ( written 30 years before the first scientific ‘rational’ PhDs awarded in Berlin in early 1800s).
I will be illustrating the argument next week but essentially the ground was set early in the following paradox and leads the art practice as researcher to always be left in a APORETIC SPACE.
The humanities are in an important sense opposed to the aesthetic. The humanities draw the artist back from the truth of art, mind which is freedom, ailment from the way in which art threatens to present or show its freedom unconditionally, back to the social, to the way in which art might communicate the ideas it seeks freely to express. (Jonathan Laney Dronsfield – forthcoming article in Elkins book).
Never thought I’d end up here..started out with a locative media project end up deep in continental philosophy…
Problem is I actually enjoying it…a PhD prison cell beckons …..
Amended diagram 6th January
Interesting supervision session with DH in which I tried to present the M.A. package and look forward to what might come next.
M.A. ‘package’ =
Frayling Cartoon ( DRN Proceedings and THE) and paper ( Published AHHE 2014) (20 drawings)
DRN Hockney Rakes revisited (DRN NY 2013) (16 drawings)
James Elkins 2nd Edition of ‘Artists with PhDs’ illustrations 2014. (20 drawings?)
The above image is my crude attempt to update a previous ‘future map’. The horse-trading going on over various PhD offers at NTU means the water a bit muddied at present especially as I waiting to confirm I actually have a job in 2014-15!
What is certain is that a period of reflection before diving into a full PhD in order.
The above image highlights two possible options. (The third option is leave teaching and pure practice which financially not an option – left hand side of image).
Option One: Phenomenology of drawing and memory of place?
Fine Art practice-led PhD linking to phenomenology of drawing and its link to painting through my interest in both aspects of place and symbolic drawing in the likes of Arshile Gorky and Miro and up to Guston and beyond.
Relates to this abandoned blog on painting practice…BLANK CANVAS
Option Two: The Victorian Sequential Moment ?
If redeployed into Graphic Design next year this would link to both possible animation and film courses within Visual Communications from a ‘Visual Culture’ standpoint. Locates me away from practice in a art history position though.
Relates directly to the revised Art History BLOG here
Also a nice review in Nottingham Evening Post by Mark Patterson. November 21st 2013.
PEOPLE who can draw, and even those of us who can only manage stick figures, will tell you that drawing is the basis of all art.
The ability to make representational marks on some kind of surface, using some kind of tool, is one of the earliest forms of human expression and everything else, including all the artistic movements and isms, follows on. And today, Joe Public still values artworks which embody a degree of God-given raw skill, including the ability to draw well, more highly than installations, films and sculptures made of shopping trolleys.
What then, will the Man and Woman on the Nottingham Omnibus make of Drawology, the new exhibition of contemporary drawing which opened this week at Nottingham Trent University’s Bonington Gallery?
For sure, this is a show where traditional drawing is ably represented by artists such as Bill Prosser, whose fine black and white pencil drawings of domestic spaces – waste bins, staircase landings – force the eye to zoom in with strange fascination on the very texture of carpets, curtains and loose wires.
Yet this is also an exhibition which also aims to seek out different forms of drawing; to investigate, essentially, what drawing can be in a wider extent.
So, at the other end of the spectrum from Prosser, Deborah Harty’s take on drawing – defined in its essence as the representation of experiences – is an enclosed installation of film projections on a glass table.
Between Prosser’s and Harty’s two kinds of drawing we get a broad range of other forms including film such as Maryclare Foa’s ‘Line Down Manhattan’, which follows her as she walks down to the southern tip of Manhattan while trailing a large piece of chalk fastened to a piece of rope. The wobbly chalk line she leaves on crowded pavements and roads is her drawing of Manhattan.
Most of the artworks here, though, are traditional flat 2D images, albeit using a wide variety of tools, such as chalk, pastels and paints, on paper of varying thickness and textures.
You’ve got to be impressed by Patricia Cain’s huge three-piece, titled ‘Riverside Triptych III’, which recreates a cavernous interior with an overwhelmingly intricate arrangement of metallic struts, railings and platforms.
And you’ve got to like Andy Pepper’s iridescent coaster-size squares, which flash shimmering images of grass at you from the floor.
Shaun Belcher, who lectures at the university, as do several other artists here, displays a minimal, anti-art market ethic with his three flat framed squares, composed of squiggles and occasional autobiographical references, which bear titles such ‘P***ed Off Drawing’.
Sian Bowen, a former artist-in-residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum, is another artist here who plays with the rules.
Her three 3D lightboxes, titled ‘Refuge/Silver’ show patterns that are so faint they are almost not there.
On a bright sepia background they look more like the archaeological imprint of ancient organic forms left in the soil.
They serve to bring the exhibition full circle back to the very roots of drawing as humanity’s earliest artistic attempt to make sense of the world that exists beyond the caves of the eyes.
Drawology can be seen until December 6.
No studio diary entries this week as I only made it into studio for an hour. Various work related problems kept me busy and rest of time I was starting new research at home.
My next conference is in Paris in March. It continues the theme I started exploring in Amsterdam Film-Philosophy Conference. This is the role of Victorian magazine illustration (disseminated by the railway) in development of sequential narrative that became film and comic art.
The new blog here: http://www.shaunbelcher.com/rpt
I have separated from this ‘Graphic Research’ blog as although related the focus there is very much on the art historical angle (Frayling’s ‘Research INTO Design’ NOT through or for which this practice-led blog is more concerned with).
I have already discovered a mine of information including original Dickens annotated sketches by his illustrators. My intention is to look at the ‘sequential moment’ and try and establish if the mass circulation of the first Pickwick Paper pamphlet might be a significant milestone in sequential terms.
This I will then relate to the cross-disciplinary proliferation of images and tropes in an attempt to build a firmer picture of what cartoon/drawing, comic and photography actually meant at this time.
I am also looking at the role of technology based on Brian Winston’s political analysis after Raymond Williams.
Here a steel engraving by Phiz from the Pickwick Papers from March 1837.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
I was in conversation with Andrei Molotiu the author of the book Abstract Comics (http://abstractcomics.blogspot.co.uk ) and he basically challenged me to go beyond the film derived sequential drawings of earlier in the year and attempt a full abstract comic approach which I duly did yesterday. The result below.
This is based on two symbols that were constant companions in my first period of intensive abstract drawing from 1981-1989. The two objects are based on a barn door and a sheave of barley both distant childhood memory derivations. At this time I was working off an abstract expressionist base where Arshile Gorky and Miro were very important in terms of memory symbols. Here I have used the two objects to tell an abstract sequential story which has abstract speech bubbles. I jokingly called it my autobiography hence the grave symbol at end. The story is subconscious there no direct narrative. I drew the structure of the comic based on memories of similar page structures in comics.
The interesting thing is that it seems to relate directly back to a ‘graphic novel’ I attempted in 1992 (below the front cover). I will try and get rest of sequence scanned which although cartoon based is more conventional cartoon figuration rather than abstract and contains quite a lot of text. For this I thank Simon Lewty ( http://www.artfirst.co.uk/simon_lewty ) who has been a constant source of inspiration in his blend of the narrative, abstract and annotated.
Andrew has asked me for a better quality photo of the work for his blog (see above) so I will update the picture above with a high quality image tomorrow.
I also just realised that it structurally hints at the kind of emblematic work Alasdair Gray parodied in his ‘Leviathan’ drawing for the front cover of his book Lanark. My memory was obviously remembering the front cover of Richard Burton’s ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’.
Looking at a pencil drawing I did today (called New Yoik Sympathy 🙂 I was reminded of drawings I did in mid nineteen-eighties which scarily nearly thirty years ago! The same motifs are re-assembling from somewhere deep in my brain or maybe they never went away…..just the physical act of drawing did.
Drawing has proved to be my way back into some sort of steady work flow (I hate word ‘practice’ is part of neo-con professionalisation and meant to be uttered by mealy-mouthed curators not artists….I am sure Francis Bacon never said I am involved in a transgressive multi-disciplinary practice….even if he was.)
My future direction seems to be emboldened by trip to New York as I felt that painting/drawing…making art whatever you want to call it still had relevance and importance there and had not been belittled by translation into outcomes. The physical act of making whether in Wool, Motherwell or best of all Mike Kelley’s work was paramount. Kelley had all sorts of resonance across genres (skate/grafitti,zines) and forward in an undoubted influence on a young David Shrigley…anybody looking at works below cannot but see connection. I hope Shrigley wins Turner prize because like Grayson Perry he an active practitioner who creates stuff…oodles of it. THINKING through DOING not DOING FUCK ALL AND THINKING TOO MUCH
Here my latest scribble……Kelley’s drawings and Shrigleys wonderful pisstake of life=life-drawing….you have to look harder…
After the great time in New York ( Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim were fantastic) it is back to earth with a bump (work) and time to take stock of what to do next on M.A. as complete at end of January 2014. I have been in touch with James Elkins and there only a couple of chapters still to come in book so I can concentrate between now and Xmas in getting that sequence completed. I also need to update the Rakes Redrawn sequence with some Hogarthian written titles mimicking original and Gilray etc. Whether this will be enough to get into the DRN proceedings I not sure but as whole idea was that this piece was ‘drawing-led’ not written a full paper seems inappropriate. I may take ideas and rewrite into a separate paper though.
Here some images from New York conference – the final image is Yoon Bakh’s take on my talk as a visual ‘scribe’:-).