Natural Artifice

“Drawing is not a window on the world but a device for understanding our place in the universe”
Emma Dexter

My current work is the fruit of an ongoing practice that has been developing over several years. I became interested in drawing during my BA, when I started producing large drawings. Scale added a physical element to my work, linking naturally to my background in movement and dance. It also gave an immersive feel to the process of making, a sense of being within the drawing rather than visually controlling from the outside.
The work gradually became more embodied, and I began to use choreographic parameters to give structure to long sessions of drawing. These became more performative, with the process as much part of the work as the finished pieces . I soon began to interact and collaborate with dancers, choreographers and musicians.
A number of students and dance professionals volunteered to work with me in the Students Gallery in NCAD in March of 2013. The work was documented in film and, together with the drawings made, used for an exhibition in Pallas Projects in May of 2013. In May of 2014 I showed a large body of work in a solo exhibition, 'Natural Artifice' at Soma Contemporary, Waterford. Here I used a diversity of materials, from plastic, to natural found objects and of media; including drawing, performance and video.

The discordances between live, mediated, natural and unnatural are at the centre of this work. Claims of authenticity and truthfulness in art are investigated and questioned, in relation to our current times, in which truth seems more elusive and unattainable than ever. A performance in collaboration with DJ Nigel Wood and Choreographer Fiona Quilligan took place during the month of the exhibition. Dialogue with other disciplines is an important part of my practice.

The ephemerality and directness of performative drawing responds to current values of chronic socio/economic uncertainty and of media filtering of truth. In drawing, direct experience and impermanence are proposed to the viewer, who becomes witness to the live emergence of lines . This is contrary to tradition where drawing and painting have taken place in isolation, in the privacy of the studio. Through immediate gestures marks are conveyed without effects or technical artifice, in a quest for a truthfulness of mark making and of presence.
Embodied drawing has its roots in the practice of a line of artists like Robert Morris, Morgan O’Hara and Matthew Barney to name a few.
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