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Fragments of a Method
2020-2023

Buttons
Canvasses
Colour study and description
Apple core
Beads
Laminate fragments
Colour studies and descriptions
Thing 4589
Thing 4555
Thing 4556
Thing 4557
Thing 4558
Things 4559 to 4562
Thing 4563
Thing 4564

Description: Drawings and descriptions of 5279 things. Drawings in pencil, biro, marker, felt pen, acrylic pen, coloured pencil and collage, contained in 19 hand-stitched sketchbooks made from printer paper, fine-art paper (Fabriano, Somerset Satin, Somerset Newsprint, Hahnemühle), fluorescent paper, graph paper, acetate, test prints, documentation of previous works, and pages torn from historic art catalogues. 32 pages of miniature colour-fields. A 50 page lists of descriptions.

Fragments of a Method is a durational drawing project archiving the data of the artist’s studio: materials, techniques, experiments, approaches, and ways of understanding. Over three years, I drew and described 5279 things, materials and remnants from my studio, guided by three rules: 1) let mistakes be visible, 2) use what is to hand, 3) avoid value judgements and quantifiable information. These rules shift focus from outcome to process, creating space for improvisation, resourcefulness and unexpected results.

The things documented are (for the most part) mundane: tiny cube beads, scraps of wood, textile offcuts, unfinished experiments, plastic bags, cardboard boxes used as packaging, and assorted strange things (a dead moth, a banana skin, a crash barrier). These things were found, donated and accumulated over many years, for possible use in future artworks. They are documented in19 hand-stitched books and an 80-page list. The books are assembled from cast-off, recycled and repurposed paper: fluorescent pages, graph paper, documentation of previous works, and pages torn from historic catalogues. 

The drawings in ‘Fragments of a Method’ are gestural and unpredictable. Their immediacy belies the extended timeframe of the project. They are made without looking at the paper or with the non-dominant hand, techniques typically used as warm-up exercises, to loosen up and be less precious. As primary methods, these techniques suggest a continued challenge to habitual thinking. In the descriptions, text is also used as a drawing tool, capturing observations and responses quickly and (importantly) leaving out some information. Some are perfunctory whilst others note shape, texture, likeness, narrative or history.

What’s at stake is not a definitive output but the suggestion that understanding, whether through drawing, writing, or data, is a creative process. It is porous, layered, incomplete and always in progress. The work invites the viewer to sit with incompleteness and incongruity, and not be frustrated by these apparent glitches or rationalise them away.

 

In my previous career as a data analyst, I built models to validate outcomes. In ‘Fragments of a Method’ I model approaches, shifting focus from ends to means.

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