Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lesley Guy - "The drawing lost its way"

Lesley Guy - Claude Levi-Strauss - 37cm x 29cm - Ink on Paper

The recent project Obituaries came from an attempt to produce art in a more playful way using found, and random images. I see drawing as a tool for thinking and exploring; I enjoy solving problems of surface, picture plane, illusion and form. However, my original concern was with exploring feelings of loss by collecting, and archiving the obituary pages from the newspaper. I was fascinated with the way that those who were recently deceased had become transformed into images of paper and ink, their lives reduced to a few paragraphs. The project was compulsive but the strategy gradually evolved into exploring the surface of the images, newsprint has a short life, the paper quickly yellows and the ink eventually fades, this is liberating.

There are over 100 drawings in the archive and there are as many different categories into which they can be sorted and displayed. The personal histories of the people depicted have some meaning, but this is often superficial, focusing only on the profession, age or gender of the deceased. Their image is the subject rather than their biography. My own concerns of loss, form, illusion, material or aesthetic problem solving dictate the ways these works come together.

In the case of Levi-Strauss, I was unable to see past the man. Because of my interest in anthropology I got a bit caught up in the idea that this image was important and that it had to work. Approaching the image with this kind of tension broke the spell, so to speak. The drawing lost its way, I tried to recover by using methods that had worked in the past which compounded the failure. Certain elements, such as the hand on the cane, do work for me, but overall it is clumsy and safe.

Lesley Guy's Website

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