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 :

Theme: Barbara Reise
Arichive Number: TGA/786/5/2/66/040475
Title: Gilbert & George Invitation: ‘Bloody Life’, Lucro Amelio, Naples, April 1975ref:

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:

Alex Katz
3 PM, November 1997   Oil on board   ref:

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:

(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:

Two Perforated Combs2006    Stenciled pigmented linen   on pigmented cotton base   ref:

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:


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:

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:


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

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:

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?