Interrogating and simplicity

Stone and tree copy

I have a love hate relationship with the word interrogate.  Actually its mostly hate! Considered a more rigorous term than merely questioning it has become the  art speak term of choice for investigating something, often giving woolly ideas a veneer of intellectual seriousness which they do not  merit. Every second artist seems to be interrogating something!  My distrust, dislike of the term goes back a long way.  As an eleven year old, in a school French exam I was confronted with the instruction,”convert the following sentences into the interrogative”.  I was good at French easily capable of getting full marks for this but along with the rest of my class I got zero for that question because not one of us knew what interrogative meant.  It clearly still rankles!  I think art speak risks equating simple language  with simplistic ideas.  So, rant over,  simplicity is where I am heading.

I met up with my friend Jem this week for a drawing day. We have been doing this in a desultory way for a year or more but have now set ourselves a goal:  to produce five pieces of work in just over a year.  Although music is a common interest we are beginning  to look at architecture and think about space and the simplicity of structures like cloisters.  Sharing a variety of music throughout the day from Bach’s Cello Suites to Karl Jenkins The Armed Man, Mass for Peace to the opening bars of James Macmillan’s Tuireadh, his lament for the Piper Alpha disaster we settled down to draw. I am currently revisiting the compositions of Piero della Francesca and Fra Angelico and in our conversations we touched on the classical influences  on Brunelleschi in the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence. I suspect that with these ideas fresh in my mind, having earlier observed a rhythm of light falling on angles of stone walls balanced by a riot of bare tree branches, I started my first drawing for this new project. Stone and Tree. I have no idea where it will go from here.

Running in tandem with these regular drawing days I am about to start work on a new personal project in response to Bach’s cello music and I have just bought a large format sketchbook, 30 x 42 centimetres and a book of manuscript paper. So to work…..


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