Klee Wyck A book by Emily Carr Canadian artist and drawer of Totem Poles

Emily Carr, Blunden Harbour, 1930.  sourced on line October 2013 from:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blunden_harbour_totems_Emily_Carr.jpeg

Emily Carr was brought to my attention by my daughter who spent a year in Canada. Emily was a Canadian born in 1871, who through her life visited Canadian aboriginal villages, many deserted, to record the life nature and spirituality of this devastated race. She was influenced by the Fauve and Post Impressionist movements and studied for a while in France.

I find her images very stark and cold perhaps reflecting a sadness of a lost race but am interested to learn that she was part of the women’s art movements in which Georgia O’Keefe was involved ( and with whose art I feel there is a connection) and that she worked with the Canadian group of Seven. She wished to express the religion of the aboriginal peoples as the love of nature which she herself began to embrace.  Her book, written in later life records some of her adventures in attempting to get to and stay for periods in the deserted overgrown villages in North West Canada.

Emily Carr, Kitwancool, 1928.  sourced on line (October 2013 ) from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Emily_Carr_1928_Kitwancool.png

In my love of ancient art such as the wall paintings in France, I am also fascinated by the representations of life and nature as expressed by the America’s first nationers


new book “Vitamin D”

I finally acquired a copy of this book and my initial reaction was one of a frog in my throat. I woke in the middle of the night feeling exactly the same-almost depressed and wanting to cry-is this what drawing has come to?-some are technically brilliant but many give the feel of a spidery feeler touching your being very lightly–no heart–I need to look again but my initial reaction is not favourable.

Reading the introduction:

“contemporary art follows two main trajectories: the post conceptual and the neo Romantic” ref: Vitamin D  New Perspectives in Drawing Phaidon Press ISBN 978 0 7148 4545 6

What is post conceptual?  conceptual art  art in which the idea behind a particular work, and the means of producing it, are more important than the finished work conceptual art:ref :http://www2.tate.org.uk/archivejourneys/reisehtml/mov_conceptual.htm

Theme: Barbara Reise
Arichive Number: TGA/786/5/2/66/040475
Title: Gilbert & George Invitation: ‘Bloody Life’, Lucro Amelio, Naples, April 1975ref:http://www3.tate.org.uk/research/researchservices/archive/showcase/item.jsp?item=4259

So what is post conceptual art? -I could find little reference to this except :

Conceptual art generated several different, and even contradictory, forms of art practice. Whereas some of these art modes contested commonplace assumptions of what art is, others served to buttress those beliefs.   ref: part of the introduction to a book “Art after conceptual art “edited by Alexander Albero and Sabeth Buchmann

Bernice Rose says the book describes conceptual art as the ambition to return to the roots of experience, to recreate the primary experience of symbolisation uncontaminated by the attitudes attached to traditional visual modes……drawing is the perfect medium for this search –pure uncontaminated  lowly direct …...

I would debate the “ability to return to the roots of experience” in that most western artists have been protected from most experience …and if not protected would have had little time or energy to give to producing art –I think conceptual art is therefore a myth and a belief by a protected and spoilt society that they know something of life -can any of them even cope without a computer…could they give birth to a deformed dead child in the bushes and bury it….then would the true roots of experience be felt and the true sym bols of primary experience be reproducible.

What is Neo Romantic?

Romantics find art in mythology or religion,mystical landscapes based on the natural landscape, perfection in love,human dreams and fantasy,veneratinmg and redesigning the romantic past,aesthetic decadence and sexual  nonconformity. Taken from ref:http://www.neo-romantic.org.uk/whatisneorom.html

Alex Katz
3 PM, November 1997   Oil on board   ref:http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibitionseries/artist-rooms/theme-environment

This is a painting in a drawing fashion and is pretty in its delicateness, almost Japenese in its feel. I like it but feel technically it is not impressive.

Quotes from the book:

Drawing wears its mistakes on its sleeve -not being possibly to totally eradicate mistakess

Norman Bryson states the white ground acts as a blank space from which the image emerges.

Walter Benjamin: the graphic line confers an identity on its background….it marks out an area.

Paul Klee an active line on a walk moving freely without a goal.

Tompkins “creates abstract watercolours which …lightly graze the paper….and talk of the fragility of the artists momentary touch”

Contemporary Artists mentioned in the introduction:

Hayley Tompkins:

Hayley Tompkins Untitled, 2003 Watercolour on paper

The book speaks of Hayley Tompkins watercolours as suggesting loss,…works that speak of that speak of the temporality and fragility of the artist’s…touch….drawing as a record of an intense and private moment.

To me this drawing (watercolour) is a line going uphill towards an open box on top of the hill-it could represent hard work (uphill) perhaps towards a male /female relationship (line and open box)–in addition there is an open ended box turned away from this main area “looking upwards” which speaks of turning one’s back on something and (adding to the previous thought) this could represent a jilted female–loss of a relationship???? It has a feel of “Pride and Prejudice” –but lacks great depth….Giving it depth:perhaps it represents death  the upper “box”  turned away and looking upwards to heaven? -but the shapes are not grave enough for this idea to me-

It also reminds me of the mathematical puzzles in intelligence tests –what is the missing line?

Frances Richardson the VitaminD book tells us this artist emphasises a relationship between drawing and thought

Every hour of every day of every week by Frances Richardson
2003  Graphite on paper  50 x 50 cm  ref: http://www.trinitycontemporary.com/Frances-Richardson-Every-hour-every-day-every-week-DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=6&tabindex=5&objectid=363180

(This does seem to have resonance in its complexity but repetitiveness with its title and hence my thinking-however,I feel, without the title it has little meaning). It does remind me of a piece of paper folded and folded as in origami.)

James Sienna and Daniel Zeller says the book explore inside/outside , micro/macro, thought and action.

James Sienna  “I don’t make marks. I make moves.” – James Siena  ref:  http://www.davidkrut.com/bioSiena.html

Two Perforated Combs2006    Stenciled pigmented linen   on pigmented cotton base   ref:http://www.davidkrut.com/bioSiena.html

I find this quite beautiful in its intricacy as is his screenprint , the reason being the intense concentration that has gone into its production as well as the fine detail.

Double Recursive Combs,  Boustrophedonic  2005:

ref: http://www.davidkrut.com/bioSiena.html

Daniel Zeller–“The visual language of Zeller’s drawings “is borrowed from many places, among them satellite images, electron micro-graphs, topographical maps, anatomical and schematic diagrams..” ref:http://www.pierogi2000.com/artists/daniel-zeller/daniel-zeller-bio-2/

His  intricate detail drawings do remind me of gazing down a microscopes, spending long hours with aching eyes, doing histological drawings: I am glad someone has turned these beautiful structures into art,they impress me in their intricacy but feel superficial because of their play with the relationship to what is done for highly serious and scientific reasons.

Daniel Zeller
Passive Integration (detail), 2012 Ink and acrylic on paper 13-1/2 x 11 inches  ref:http://www.lorareynolds.com/artists/images/daniel_zeller/#/image/8033148032/


https://i0.wp.com/www.lab.anhb.uwa.edu.au/mb140/Big/combone020tps.jpgref:  http://www.lab.anhb.uwa.edu.au/mb140/Big/Big.htm?Haversian%20system

Sol Le Witt says the book ” show mathematical  precision….notion of the idea of  ..idea as machine to make art”…using drawing as a medium conveys ascetic (wikipedia reference: “describes a lifestyle characterised by abstinence from various worldly pleasures”) …puritanical, anti-decadent aspects of conceptualism.


Sol LeWitt (1928‑2007)
Date 1971  Medium Lithograph on paper   source on line (July 2013) from  http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/lewitt-no-title-p07067

Artist Sol LeWitt (1928‑2007) Title   [no title]  From Lines of One Inch, Four Directions, Four Colours (set of 16)

   Date 1971   MediumLithograph on paper
I think it is impossible to critique or comment on  these as works of art –they are precise small marks played with -but not randomly in a form as the book says in mathematical precision. Being a very practical person it seems to me this time would be better given to using his obssessive mathematical imaging to the forwarding of physics or space travel.There is no point to these works-I find it difficult to accept life without reason…it again resonantes with the excess of leisure and security in the Western world.

Sol Lewitt, from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art

sourced on line (July 2013) from: http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p=Sol+le+witt+artist

Because of the activity of colour in this geometric painting I enjoy it for itself. It reminds me of a Mondrian but has greater activity and colour.

1966–Mel Bochner exhibited “working drawings and other visible things on paper not neccessarily meant  to be viewed as art. These consisted of mathematical drawings, a bill, a page from Scientific American.

all of which to me tends to point to the fact that anything coming from human ingenuity could be said to be art–in fact the very wording of the process then produces a need to describe and  hence a focusing onto “what is art” yet man is the creator of many things and art is creation….nature which goes through man’s mind and emerges from his hands….his sensory system changing the world by diversion through the individual or collective human brain out again via his motor system–be it by the motor muscles of the hands (art or music or science) of the legs and limbs generally (sport,dance) of the voice (song)  he is converting and creating and the artist is the man who can express –what of the deaf, the blind who cannot absorb their environment, the paralysed and dumb who cannot express  ?- is their art held inside them?

book -“penguin book of the renaissance”

Whilst away in the snow rain and fog of the French Alps I read “The penguin book of the Rennaissance”-(1972 version I think) by Professor Plumb. It was exceptionally readable and put the art and architecture into context of the historical turmoil and interfighting of the “great” families of Northern Italy in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. It was an enjoyable and informative read, revealing an era which was formative in the art and culture of Europe for many centuries following. I picked out a few quotes from the book which support  my belief that creativity blossoms even without academia or learning, being part of man’s “hard wiring”:  ” Great artists are as common as peaks in the Himalayas,leading one to believe that theability to draw or to carve is no rarer in man than mathematical skill and only requires the appropiate social circumstances to call it forth in abundance”…quote J.H. Plumb -chapter “The Arts”  and a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci ” they will say that because of my lack of book learning, I cannot express what I desire to treat of. Do they not know that my subjects require for theirexposition, experience rather than the words of others….”

Drawing One a new book “Drawing Now” Between the lines of contemporary art

back from a week’s holiday I have come home to “Drawing Now” a recommended book by the OCA drawing course. My first instinct on reading the preface was to look for the webpage “TRACEY” which is run by some of the same group of authors.


unfortunately, although I am glad I have found it with its discussions of research themes and references in relation to drawing, it is far too long winded (for my liking) to read intently.

The selection of sketch books by artists from different parts of the world are worth further investigation:


notes from “Drawing now”:by

considers the relationship between hand,drawing material & paper whilst touching the limits of drawing…extending typical subjects,abstraction and conceptualisation

considers the subjective nature of drawing-leaning towards naievety and the denial of “good drawing”

Challenges subject matter, beyond figurative.

Drawings capacity to reflect postmodernism: appropiation, fragmentation and indeterminancy, expression through gesture and allegory (ref :http://www.thefreedictionary.com “The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.”)

to challenge the aesthetic (ref: http://www.thefreedictionary.com :”Of or concerning the appreciation of beauty or good taste,,onforming to accepted notions of good taste.“)

mentions the MOMA exhibition: Allegories of Modernism,Contemporary drawing (ref:http://www.moma.org/docs/press_archives/7005/releases/MOMA_1992_0013_12.pdf?2010 ) -list of artists to look at saved in “drawing course -artists (MOMA)-

Gestural drawing Large scale work collage and montage (ref:wikepedia-=-a form of film editing)

aligning drawing with thinking and ideas rather than representation–drawing representing reflection rather than observation

Emphasising the performative and the speculative

Arthur Danto–the role of art changed in mid 20th century

Post modernism critiques rather than represents- Jean Baudrillard states art can only reiterate what has gone before.

Drawing is a tool of conceptualisation equivalent to language  –relationship between reason and intuition, sensory perception, interpretation and the process of understanding.

Close to conception of ideas and before refinement of methods–so retains a freshness —its simplicity—able to demonstrate the complexity of conceptual possibilities.

Driven by convention

Drawing is unstable balanced between abstraction and representation.      It is fluid.

drawing is authentic and therefore resists postmodernism( which is the exchange between the authentic and the copy).

Bergger: drawing =observation, communication and memory. Every drawing has an element of memory which filters observation and directs imagination–that is why it takes so long to learn.

Drawing oscillates between:seeing,thinking,remembering,imagining,controlling and being controlled.

reference to BBC series by Andrew Graham Dixon “The secrets of Drawing 2005”  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SbEW9VVa34)

pre Renaissance drawing-subjective knowledge of the substance of the world –symbolic pictures

drawing what we see is altered by what we know to be its use

Le Witt’s definition of conceptual art: “in conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_art

naming things allows concepts to become forms,

Kant: relationships between understanding and imagining, demonstrable and not, explicable and not: rational (understanding) v aesthetic (distinct from concepts of understanding–imagination and subjective)

Aesthetic sensation may be more visceral then visual

Drawing is an immersion in reaction and anticipation and moves between conscious decision and unconscious compulsion

conscious experience depends on imagination to anticipate and remember. We separate elements of the perceptible from things we do not “see”

elements of experience are lost and as….words constrain and lose experience and become confined by previous explanation,…. so does drawing.

conceptual drawing: a journey around associative thought and does not have to be logical or resolved,provokes an aggregation of memories and impedes access to ….meaning–intangible and ambiguous.


The drawings in the book represent the visible and invisible.