Images into images…

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Whilst working with my sketches from the galleries in New York, I was particularly interested in the layering of imagery. These were images and sculptures which I was inspired to draw, so on one level they are all deeply connected. On the other hand, I was sketching imagery from different cultures and times; from Roman statues and works from 5th mil BC, to contemporary works made within the last few years. As I walked around the Met, Guggenheim, MOMA and Whitney, I waited to be physically stopped in my tracks by something I could not help but study further. The human form featured heavily in my drawings; a headless woman often seems to creep into my sketch book, but I have yet to psychoanalyse this! Distorted human figures or semi-abstract or symbolic imagery which related to the figure also stayed with me and I was constantly pulling out my pencil to record in a more personal and, inevitably less accurate way, than by taking photographs. It is the inaccuracy which appeals to me; after all, I could buy a postcard in the shop, and countless other people have recorded each piece with DSLR technology. But to draw it means to make my own interpretation, to accept likely alteration, adjusted focus and unintentional bias; perhaps even intentional. This is not to suggest a photographer would not be considering light and frame and composition and other formal qualities. But I am still a huge fan of pen or pencil and sketch book when in galleries.

I then developed this layering further. Initially I worked on  exploring the actual imagery and building a sense of depth by adding water colour. I then printed the images onto acetate. I produced one image in a relatively pure state as a photo-litho plate, and then I layered the same image with a second acetate to create a duplication of some of the imagery. One drawing had already been split in two and mirrored so that it had become something entirely different. I wonder whether other people will ‘see‘ the same images I see in this much more complicated piece. It has hidden complexities and I am enjoying this, although I recognise that I have always liked to ‘overwork’ the image. Perhaps this is important at this stage. Both the intentional and unintentional (subconscious) symbolism, and exploration of losing the literal, whilst perhaps gaining subjective, appeals. My reading on outsider art and mental health is also making me consider my work on a deeper level; beyond the superficial ‘art is therapy’ and into ‘what exactly is this saying, what exactly am I exposing, what exactly am I leaving hidden?

I think there is room for a great deal more exploration….

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