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Artist Statement

I work in a process-based way with line, repetition and surface as my central concerns. The materials and actions I use have some connection to the domestic, agrarian routines and rituals of previous generations of my family as well as to the more universal human need to leave a trace and reveal a truth. I work by drawing, stitching or folding lines onto or into a surface. I am excited by the minutest variations of material and procedure that produce ‘difference’ through repetition.

Mapping of space and marking of time are both important in this series of drawings.  I live on the same land that was worked by four different generations. Hence I was looking at old maps of the farm and began researching changing field shapes, different ploughing methods (‘gathering’ and ‘casting’ being two methods of interest) and became fascinated by the folds and refolding of the maps and how it drew me to the potential of 'surface.’ I read about the archaeology of the area, and was fascinated by the dichotomy between the act of ploughing the land both revealing and destroying evidence of previous human activity/settlements, and how some archaeological sites are revealed through changing light and moisture levels in the soil. The seen and the unseen are held in the same surface.

Ploughing is just one of many examples of repetitive work that I have always been familiar with. Labour that is often overlooked, the evidence of it is transient, made invisible by the insistence of time, by the next layer of activity. I like the idea of making a labour intensive drawing process that leaves an image that is barely there.

I enjoy using simple, every day materials pen, ink and paper. In this series I have used a heavy weight, white drawing paper. Its toughness resists my efforts to a certain extent, to tear, score, pierce, stain or fold it, is a very physical process. It has substance, I can take layers away, or scratch through its top surface and it retains its structure, I like its weight and how it opposes the pressure of my hand, this equates to marking the earth with a tool. It has a slight texture which affects the quality of the line as the nib travels over the surface. The paper is as important as my hand in producing the line. As well as revealing intentional traces left on the paper, the process of drawing reveals unintentional marks found on the surface of any sheet of paper it is impossible to conceal mistakes and irregularities.

The accumulation of the lines is time-consuming but meditative. The regularity and rhythm of the drawing allow space and time for reverie. The activity requires quiet and continual attention but is not difficult (a bit like ploughing a field, proficiency or control is developed over time but anybody could do it, if they had the inclination) therefore the physical attention seems to allow a calm thinking time.

An ink line is drawn along the uppermost edge of the paper, traced from left to right horizontally across the page. This action is then repeated, each time trying to draw a steady, straight line across the surface. A fine mapping nib is dipped into the ink bottle and the line drawn as close to the line before as possible. A quasi-mechanical activity which is doomed to imperfection, but creates a field of frisson/noise/interference that is specifically autobiographic. Therefore the most systematic procedure is not merely pure process – it is actually producing a drawing that is intimately expressive.