Drawings I have made in response to the prompts sent by Jen on the ogham Residency, a 3 artist process based residency in Catalyst Arts, Belfast. Other artists, sculptor Stephanie Tanner and painter Brian Kielt. Curator Jen Alexander. I asked to make a drawing response each day to a prompt from the space so as to feel more connected to the project. I am only able to get up at the beginning and the end. I went up last weekend and worked in the space on the Saturday, I made a drawing on a sheet of plywood Jen had in the space. Not sure the size of the sheet- maybe 3 x 4 foot? Did not get it finished, so thinking about how to finish it remotely. Currently thinking about layering a red drawing on top- by asking Jen to trace what I want added on to acetate and project it on then draw over the projection. Something that jars with whats already there, not trying to blend in. layering. layers through the window. layers like in Brians work. Made copies of things like in Stephanie’s work.
This week has been a treading water kind of week- just to stay above the surface week of parenting, trying to meet work quota, domestic life and everything else squished in. Doing these drawings is keeping me connected however, and keeping the Ogham residency in my surface thoughts, just as I thought it might. To be continued as things progress.
So last week, towards the end fo the week, after thinking about how to progress the drawing and remain part of the residency in situ as well as remotely, I decided to take Jen up on her offer to continue work for me on the plywood drawing- as a way of staying connected to the space and the continuing work and as a way to practically progress the drawing. I was initially a little hesitant as although it had been my idea, I have never asked anyone to work on a drawing before. Then after thinking about it I decided it was a good thing – after all this is a process based residency, and that it would be interesting to see where a collaborative work could go. On the Saturday, when Stephanie and Brian were in the space, Jen went and got red pens and trialled a few colours until we found the right one, and then worked on the drawing as per my instructions. Here is as far as she got:
I really like this and am hopeful to see what else can be achieved now. After all I made the drawing whilst thinking about the journey I had made up to the space, and what I saw out of the window of the various trains I had taken. The two other main influences were the relentless imagery of the human misery manifesting itself in Ukraine, on my newsfeed. It had permeated my thoughts to an extent that I didn’t feel like I could make a drawing without referencing it somehow. I drew a version if an image I’d seen of a small boy on a swing in front of a bombed block of what looked like apartments. An adult man stands beside him. It was of course what a kid would want and need, some bit of normality, to go in a swing, in the midst of all this chaos. To me it felt like relevant visual metaphor for the situation at the time, all of us here in our unharmed environments, going about our business as normal, impacted only in our heads and newsfeeds by this awfulness. The other element I wanted to incorporate was the brocade design of the chair Stephanie had selected to work with. I had already used this design in some drawings and was interested in the idea of the pattern creeping across the space, and what it could symbolise. Now thats it’s got added red it has taken on a whole different power.
As each day progresses I am thinking about how I will formulate the performance to close the show of the work made on the residency. Thinking about: the colour red, journeys, how I have viewed Stephanie’s and Brian’s work unfolding from a distance, the spaces within Catalyst, striped red plastic tape which has been a recurring image for me so far, the chair, layered imagery, ogham writing and how its structured and more.