Contemporary Drawing Blog

Mark Making – Not everything we know in the world has a physical form and marks are the response of what we feel. Many concepts and feelings can only be expressed through marks, sounds, actions or gestures. An abstract mark can often translate a thought or feeling because it does not have to represent a physical object, it is simply itself. Selecting the ‘right’ medium to make the ‘right’ mark on the ‘right’ surface is an important decision to make. It is the gestural language of drawing and there are an infinite number of marks possible. When mark making itself is the focus of the drawing and the mark is the message being created, then how the marks are produced becomes a significant part of both the process and the finished piece. Jackson Pollock made splatters and drips, created by gravity, nature and by the various forces involved in liquidity and the chemical behaviours of pigment. To create these paintings, Pollock had to relinquish control, no longer standing apart from nature and depicting it but being a part of nature, recognising that human beings are a part of it all, not separate overseers. Louise Kikuchi is an artist who also uses gravity to induce her marks. Kikuchi, Louise_Snow Falling on Pine Needles Sumi Ink droplets with added colour dropped onto a piece of absorbent rice paper in a gridded pattern. While each droplet has been organised into a particular place, the droplets themselves are an individual reaction to their gravitational pull. The choice of rice paper is important to Kukuchi, as it responds to ink in it’s own and subtle way. She works with a variety of papers and runs many tests to arrive at the right surface for each image. The softness, blur and spread of wetness varies from paper to paper and is an important decision in her images. I like these drawings, they are very sensitive  in their use of materials and process, giving them the appearance of being controlled and free at the same time. In contemporary drawing, intentionality has to do with personalizing the image and arriving at a personal truth. Drawing has always provided a path for artists who seek to express something personal and honest and contemporary drawing artists continue to find new ways of arriving at it.


About Shelley Morrow

Since 2011 I have been predominantly a figurative artist with an interest in conveying expression, movement and gesture. I take the drawings I make and explore them through various processes, particularly embroidery, textiles and etchings. I graduated with a BA in Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art in 1990 and currently taking my MA in Fine Art at Brighton University. I also work at Draw in Brighton, running and teaching Life Drawing sessions
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