Drawing through doubt

Doubt is a recurring motif within my practice as an artist. Doubt is a circumstance between belief and disbelief; it’s a state where the mind remains suspended between two (or more) contradictory propositions, unable to accept just one.

I used the idea of “drawing through doubt” to frame a recent artist talk. I discussed the ways that doubt infects both the subject and form of my work. Drawing is a way for me to express doubt and uncertainty in a productive way.


Wall drawing

Wall drawingThere’s something about drawing directly on the wall that opens up the process for me. The irregularities and surface inconsistencies of the wall allow a different approach than my usual working method. I can rework the drawing in ways I wouldn’t be able to do on paper. The materials (in this case watersoluble graphite) respond differently, and the drawing process becomes audible. The images I produce are usually much larger than those I draw on paper, which allows for a more embodied experience.

Wall drawing (detail)

Powdered graphite

Thy CreatureOnce again I find myself returning to the use of powdered graphite.

I can’t resist the lure of this material that allows me to obscure the image as the same time as I represent it. The image is simultaneously absent and present. It is offered and withheld.

Within the logic of pictorial illusion a blurred image is one seen at a distance. There is something (atmosphere, a lens) between the viewer and the image.


As I’ve noted elsewhere on this blog, sometimes I just draw as a way to relax. My daughter and I enjoyed a shared retreat on a farm a couple of weeks ago and once I got started drawing chickens I found it hard to stop…


Mastery + control

Thy Creature

I’m drawn to materials and methodologies that evade strict control. Or––it’s possible that I avoid controlling the materials and methodologies I use. In any case, I always allow for randomness and ambiguity within the images I produce.

The concept of mastery repels me. I believe that if a work is perfect, is masterfully produced, it doesn’t need (or want) the contributions of the viewer. All that is required is admiration (not exchange).