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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: 20 handmade books containing drawings and descriptions of 5279 things. Drawings in pencil, biro, marker, felt pen, acrylic pen, coloured pencil and collage, contained in nineteen 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. Descriptions printed in one hand-stitched book (80 pages).

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 prioritise trial and error and improvisation, side-stepping opinions and claims of objective facts.

The things documented border on insignificance – tiny square beads, scraps of wood, textile offcuts, unfinished experiments, plastic bags, cardboard boxes used as packaging, and assorted strange items (a dead moth, a banana skin, a crash barrier); found, donated, and accumulated over many years, for possible use in future artworks. My primary methods were blind-drawing and non-dominant-hand-drawing, techniques typically used as warm-up exercises to break out of habitual thinking. Descriptions are also used as a drawing tool, capturing observations and responses quickly and (importantly) leaving out some information.

 

Thing 10 / A banana skin, approximately six months old, shrunken, sepia-toned, velvety, with fine criss-crossing wrinkles like burst blood vessels under the skin. The inside looks like a fresh banana peel, but dehydrated. The stalk is fibrous and furry.

When I began this project, I had recently started a new part-time job as Finance Manager at an arts organisation, which brought to mind thoughts I revisit, in both art and finance, about hierarchies implicit in the way knowledge is valued in these domains (theoretical vs. practical, rational vs. intelligent-unconscious, explainable vs. unknowable). ‘Fragments of a Method’ takes form in this space. This work is methodical and irreverent, serious and casual. It is informed by my previous career as a data analyst in which I built models to predict outcomes. In ‘Fragments of a Method’ I model approaches, shifting attention from ends to means.

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