Homage and Observation: Enacting Sight

As part of my two week residency at SKOL' s Marking Space: A Drawing Research Lab, I decided to present workshops that lent themselves to two different aspects of my practice, my first, entitled Homage and Observation: Enacting Sight hosted this past week approached our somewhat complicated relationship to drawing from observation. Practiced by a great many artists, drawing from observation has taught us a number of things - to appreciate, to question, to slow down and look, and in the best of cases it has resulted in us taking up this act ourselves, participating in the art of recording perception through mark. But with the sheer number of images we are flooded with every day (not to mention the number of screens we view them on), we have less and less endurance for actually looking at something. Hard.

And recording experience in a series of marks is not in itself a simple task. Life presents itself in a multitude of ways : as sounds, colors, movements. It comes in and out of focus, repeats itself; it closes in around you. How can we record the full complexity of these influences? In the Homage and Observation workshop we aimed to tackle this challenge in a 2 hour drawing session that attacked the senses.

Participants were presented with a slideshow of well-known contemporary and historic images, moving from representational to abstract in nature. While the drawers had likely seen these images many times before (Ex: the Mona Lisa), they were shown them in a set of varying conditions. Lights flashed in different colors, while images moved in and out of focus. Ambient sounds, harsh tones, and white noise played from the loud speaker. The room temperature changed. As conditions shifted, participants were asked to pay attention to how they noted these changes in their mark-making. 

While a feat of endurance, participants left with an increased sensitivity to the forces at work in observation, allowing them to flow into one another in the process of drawing.