Wednesday 26 November 2014

Archive drawings

Within that box I recently found, were a couple of works on paper that I didn't expect to see again! These are from a series I had been working on from 1983-1986. Some of the series were exhibited at York University, Toronto, towards the end of the 1985-86 school year along with my large dream paintings (a diptych & a triptych where each individual panel was 3' x 4'). The exhibition was a 3 person show in the large gallery of Winters College. The hand pieces from that show were exhibited that summer in Charyk Gallery, Downsview (a suburb of Toronto).

These works are mixed media on paper, 55 cm x 37  cm. While at York University, I took a few creative writing courses and remember that I was inspired by discussions of metonymy and thought it would be great to create visual metonyms: I started using the hand and its gestures to signify aspects of humanity and emotions.

In the above collage I used some of the silver paper sheets I found (dumpsters in the factory areas of Toronto were always great for unexpected art supplies -- I actually still have some of this paper 30 some years later!). After gluing pink tissue to some areas of the drawing I had a hey day with my graphite, watercolour pencils and a brush loaded with water.

I think the above piece was one of the earlier ones from the series (the fragility of paraffin on paper being a telltale sign) and I am positive it was not exhibited. I know I painted on the paper first, before applying the hands and then covering the two sides with wax hiding the lustre of the silver paper. I think the black lines are China marker. I did some more work with encaustic painting in the 1980s, but properly using beeswax, turpentine, oil paint and canvas or board NOT paraffin and NOT paper!

The above piece was not in the box but is from the hand series of the 1980s. It was included in the York and Charyk Gallery shows and had been again exhibited in 2005 during my "Coming of Age" exhibition in Wicklow. A few years ago there was a competition call for providing artwork to Europol's new building in The Hague. The criteria for the competition had very specific criteria that the artists had to meet (as well as not being involved in criminal activity!). While I thought this work met their criteria, the size did not fit into any of their specified categories. Happily, on enquiry, they gave me the go ahead to apply in a larger size category, purchased the piece and it now hangs somewhere in The Hague.

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