Rome highlights

Rome was very grand - saw the usual: trevi fountain, collasseum, spanish steps and sistine chapel - but highlights for me were papyrus room at the Vatican Museum and Burri exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale ( luckily it opened yesterday which meant we were able to visit before flying home). Still prefer Florence - Rome is monumental but Florence much more intimate, somehow look at Rome but feel a part of Florence. Off to Perpignan tomorrow for a week to meet friends who we would have seen getting married this weekend in Cancun, (cancelled because of hurricane).

Rome, here I come

Finished #10 pencil print (4H) - detail above. Residues are, as usual, probably the most interesting and important part. Usually I keep all pencil sharpenings in a big jar together but this time I just kept the ones just from this drawing. 60+ hours of drawing = 2 small dishes of lead and shavings. Print from them when back from holidays......

Silence, sound and subway drawings (part two)

Couldn't resist flicking through John Cage book (not on holiday for another week). Couple of quotes jumped out:
'Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.' (p.3) and 'There is no such thing as silence. Something is always happening that makes a sound.' (p.191)
I found this really interesting as much of the time I work in my studio with some sort of 'background noise' - t.v., radio, music but recently I have been working in silence. It really is fascinating how many small noises you hear when really listening - water gurgling through pipes, floorboards creaking, traffic swooshing along roads in the distance, footsteps - clicking, padding and pattering along roads and floors. There is a real sense of layering of noise - each distinct but also part of a whole. A couple of months ago I did a sound recording of the noise of pencil drawing on paper. I'd crumpled paper partially and had become aware of the different noises the pencil made on the smooth surface of the paper and the crumpled surface - ranging from a smooth, gentle, even rhythm to an almost violent stabbing sound. The noise varied depending on the type of surface e.g. tracing paper, bond paper, tissue paper and the grade of pencil. I'm still not sure whether it is noise or rhythm that interests me - or how this fits in with my main interest in gesture, mark,residue/echo but love this stage when really small thoughts begin to make you aware of huge areas of potential exploration.
Another quote from Cage: 'There are no answers. Then of course, there are answers but the final answer makes the questions seem absurd whereas the questions up until then seem more intelligent than the answers.' (p.177)

Silence, sound and subway drawings (part one)

I've been making myself read for at least half an hour a day over the last week and have started with 'Drawing is another kind of language, Recent American Drawings from a New York Private Collection' ed. P.Lee....(ISBN 0-916724-96-4). It's a catalogue I had on my wish list for a long while until recently tracking a copy down. Looking through it, I came across a subway drawing by William Anastasi (above) - a series I had heard about but hadn't seen an example of before. Marks would be dictated by the rhythms of the subway train he was riding on - often on the way to visit John Cage. By coincidence my holiday reading arrived today - 'Silence: Lectures and Writings' by John Cage (ISBN 0-8195-6028-6).
Sound is something I have been thinking about lately in relation to my own work - or maybe rhythm - or time - or movement - or the relationship between all four, not really sure how it all fits together yet as I'm still contemplating possibilities and potential dead-ends. It started a couple of years ago whilst at Tate Modern; looking at Bill Viola's Five Angels from the Millenium I became aware that it was the sound accompanying the images which made the viewer turn towards each projection. I had also been thinking about the visual rhythm' of a video of the gesture of drawing I had made (no soundtrack) and how a pencil mark could whisper or shout (at it's simplest: a 9H will whisper - a 9B shout?). A few of the questions this has led to are: can a visual mark equate to a sound? do rhythmic marks give a sense of sound? how do sound, movement, mark and rhythm work together? when drawing from sound how does the delay between hearing and mark making fit and how can a sound and mark which relate be executed simultaneously? Absolutely no idea what the answers are.....