Moshe Ladanga

1W 8- Reflection:The Act of Drawing

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I remember Katrin and I talking about Pollock with Nikolas, and the oft-repeated story/myth of him being suspended over the canvas, twisting and turning to render those beautiful complexities. Then I came upon Jonathan Kearney’s site, in which he mentions Pollock as part of the contextualisation of his work. In the interview he cites, Pollock describes this desire to “express inner worlds”. That lead me to examine my drawings, and in particular, the act of drawing.

For years, drawing for me I believed was a way of expressing how I see. It was a personal thing, a way to have a space to myself, a salve to the often tumultuous life in Manila. The abstracts that I would make were done with charcoal sticks, quick and intuitive strokes and smears of black. The process of making it is a paradoxical one, and I remember specific feelings when I look at them. One would take me around 10 minutes to do, but I remember feeling this willful intensity, like an act of un-thinking, summoning the unconscious. Yet there was a sense of purpose to it, and I would make it a point to finish a piece in one sitting.

abstract05.jpg abstract016.jpg abstract02.jpg

But when I would make my figurative drawings, the process is strikingly different; it would take me an hour to finish a piece in one sitting, and at times I can leave it and finish it in the next couple of days. In contrast to the abstracts, there was a very thorough, deliberate feeling throughout the process.

portrait.jpg bodies-study03.jpg bodies-study09.jpg

I know, I might be belaboring the obvious, but there is something in the process itself that is interesting. When I would start off with my body studies, I would begin with a line, a stroke that would lead me to other strokes and the process becomes more and more deliberate, until the image is executed with full control. Also, there is this smearing technique that I use, which I perceive as a way of experimenting with the notion of volume, mass weight (evident in drawing 2 above). But the weird thing is, when I do my figurative work, I don’t remember any specific feelings when I would view them. It was as if I was describing something I felt, the act of it becoming a release. The abstracts though bring me back to particular times in my life, and when I look at them I feel like being in a tunnel, a mix of emotion, and all the other details of that time defined by these emotions.

My question is how does the act of drawing become a means of active thought? There is a common misunderstanding that drawing is an authentic act, or, as it was painted by critics in the case of Pollock (and in a hack of a job, Matthew Barney), a heroic one. I want to understand how my process of drawing can develop into an act of discernment, of not only expressing inner worlds, but maybe engaging this world, engaging my own illusions.

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Written by mosheladanga

November 5, 2007 at 2:20 PM

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