The following are some notes I made about my work during the period 1972–78. Although they primarily relate to drawing, they could just as easily apply to some of the things I was trying to explore in the objects and sculpture I made at the time.
Most of the drawings I make have a literal quality but are not literal in content. They are about things I’ve never completely seen but which are always there.
The drawings are usually an attempt to understand the difference between substance and matter.
The act of drawing and the materials involved seem to reflect a sense of unease that I find in my experience of living in a world where there is always a tension and struggle between the mind and body. There always seems to be a conflict between reason and pleasure. The line separates and yet joins things together. The direct experience of making a drawing reveals things yet continually covers things up. It evacuates meaning and at the same time acts as a veil or method of screening. There are many states of mind that this relates to, and <when?> I’m looking at the strategies of how a drawing is made it is important to make the distinction between subject matter and content.
I am constantly reminded while making drawings of their ‘object’-ness and the obsession with materialism that I see around me. So they are often evocative of situations where objects have priority of value and position in the world and people are made to fit in as best they can. In many cases the absence of the human presence is itself significant.
To me drawing is a tool which when used successfully does not overtly draw attention to the medium but transmits its image and ‘meaning’ as clearly as possible, so that the content is what is remembered, not the ‘style’. All the rest is historical document. It may be that the struggle involved, often expressed in contradictions (both with<between?> the concept and medium), is an attempt to acknowledge the feeling of incompatibility as an ageless problem, yet still hold it in balance.
I tend to use drawing as a way of exploring the meanings of the various relationships that may make up these kinds of structures. The meaning encapsulated in a particular form or image is far beyond its appearance. It is usually well hidden by the complexity of organisation and specialisation which confuses a sense of identity and the capacity for expression. What we see is the consequence not the ‘cause’. In this respect sculpture is a very non-visual art, most of what it is about being hidden from view. A photograph of a sculpture increases this gap even further and often becomes an apology for the work itself.
The medium of drawing in its directness demands great self-discipline, yet exposes many aspects of personal frailty – a signpost to an experience, not the experience itself.