Category Archives: the studio

Bad drawings, good drawings

How do I instantly know whether a drawing is good or bad? Sometimes I feel it in the process itself. The marks may be too emphatic, when I want provisionality.

Some days my drawing hand feels leaden; the instantaneous connection between eye, brain and hand is missing.

These powdered graphite drawing are highly susceptible to failure. In past projects I thought it necessary to include every drawing produced, whether bad or good.

The drawings I’m working on now are preparation for my installation at the the Burnaby Art Gallery at the end of June. They’re practice drawings so when I begin to draw on the walls of the gallery I have confidence, stamina and speed. This archive of images will also help with scale and placement. So I need my best drawings to inspire and give me courage during the installation—a process very much like a performance.

Artmaking + intersubjectivity

The development of my practice depends on my interaction with others. My work reflects my desire to make sense of what I experience.

Opening your studio to another person is a circumstance fraught with difficulty. The studio is a place where one’s work is coming-into-being—it may not yet be sturdy enough to withstand another person’s scrutiny. A casual remark or observation may interrupt a tenuous proposition, upset a delicate balance.

But then again, a visitor may help you see your work as something real, something capable of creating meaning—deserving of attention.

In her essay, “A Desire of One’s Own: Psychoanalytic Feminism and Intersubjective Space” Jessica Benjamin describes intersubjectivity as a mode that, “assumes the possibility of a context with others in which desire is constituted for the self. It thus assumes the paradox that in being with the other, I may experience the most profound sense of self.”

Working drawings for Eight installation, part of the SLOW: Relations and Practices exhibition (2010)

Anonymity

I’ve been musing about Mira Schor’s 1990 essay, “On Failure and Anonymity.” She writes about the creative possibilities within anonymity: “In these moments you know no one and are no one.” Nothing stands between you and what you are doing or thinking. This is the experience I seek (and often find) within my studio.