Gathering the Gap drawings
Graphite, graphite paint on paper
42 x 59 cm
For this series of over thirty drawings, I used pressed botanical pieces salvaged from experiments with boiled prints to draw from, arranging them from top to end, creating an enclosed space. These contemplative drawings reminded me of staring into space at night when you see a layer of stars, then another and another. The endless perceivable space contained by the objects within our periphery is the gap of unknown, the divine matrix or the dream state where the musical overlaps with the tangible and in some small way, these pieces represent those possibilities.
NAVICULAM CHORUS | 2016-2017 ongoing
Daily drawing practice | Graphite, chalk pastel on paper
Sizes vary, approximately 72″ x 60″/183 x 150 cm
This ongoing series of drawings speak to me and from me about the rhythms of the sea, of growth on land, of living creatures; of humanity in connection to our fragile yet resilient natural environment. Linked aesthetically by the shapes of boat parts coupled with organic patterns and circles representing portals, they are my love songs to nature and meditations on my relationship with her.
Naviculam, latin derivative pertaining to boat, boat shape or diminutive of ship
Chorus, latin for dance or group of dancers
What the Sea Remembers | 2016 | Graphite on paper |
each panel 30″ x 22″ (76 x 56 cm), seven panels in total
A drawing in seven parts, this is a visual narrative of beauty in the details and of the falling away of all of those elements through time. Perhaps we are left to question what is at the end of what feel like frightening decline? Is that where we shall begin again? How do we view the demise of this beauty? Can we focus only on the beauty, the minutiae, the details, the possibility for re-growth?
What actions can we take; what actions do we take? Are we in the cacophony, or in the silence, or that liminal place between?
What the Sea Remembers with Desire Line, in situ at the Ranger Station Art Gallery, Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Canada
This series, Of Land Of Sea studies, is where my focus on many aspects of ocean life and the metaphors that spring from it, meet the land.
I began making from clay and drawing coral after finding two pieces of endangered coral tangled and ultimately destroyed by fishing line. They became a tangible, poignant metaphor for what is at risk in the ocean environment, but also work to connect the man-made with the natural.
The use of the circle in this context can pertain to many objects: a microscope, telescope, porthole or Petri dish; it is the formal element that contains the loosely drawn organic shapes. The lines of cut silver paper, suggest mapped streets, measuring markers or directional lines. The shapes of boats permeate this series from my work of the last two years, ever mindful of its presence and still a perfect metaphor of the human psyche.
In my art practice I am thoughtful about materials used and what they may say about the work being produced. I chose to draw on reclaimed OSB (particle board used for building houses) realizing the use of such a matrix provides depth of meaning to the work given the etymology of the word Ecology: Oikos, from the Greek for House and logos for knowledge. Our environment, our home, our knowing.
Size (Inches/centimetres) & prices
Click on image to see painting number
1-7 of photos above – Of Land Of Sea #8-24 | 12 x 12/ 30 x 30 $600
8-15 of photos above – Of Land Of Sea #1-7 | 24 x 24/61 x 61 $1350
Each piece was cut and surfaced with PolyFil then sanded. A coat of clear and regular gesso was mixed then painted over the surface. This was sanded then repeated. The drawings are sealed with Liquitex pouring liquid and mat medium. All pieces except Of Land, OF Sea #1 are unframed.
Paintings documented by Byron Dauncey
Row the Boat Out drawings | 2015 – ongoing, thirty drawings (2017) |
Graphite, graphite paint, watercolour, acrylic on vellum
25.5″ x 17.5″ / 64 x 45 cm
Drawing is where my mind wanders and is allowed to explore outside of measurements, plans and particulars. These pieces are where the subject of the boat becomes the most symbolic. In the absence of any human presence the boat can be seen as representative of the human condition. It is the shadowy place of the dream-world; the longing, the balance, imbalance or the vessel that catches hold of both beauty and decline. The dark shadows are the gap, the outlines suggest a past, a remnant or a connection. The coral, tentatively outlined but perhaps not completely present, suggests the risk the ocean beings are in and other sea life fills or hangs on to the boat shapes representing how intertwined humanity is to the sea and its life giving creatures.
In the Row the Boat Out series, the images unfold and link quite organically to one another. The paper becomes warped and the paint is pulled into the valleys of the surface, having used graphite paint and vellum in a process of letting the materials do their own thing. There is a little bit of magic in this; the artist’s hand is apparent, but so too is the will of the material itself.
A form of meditation and observation, I consider drawing to be the foundation of my art practice.
Watercolour on photo paper | 31 pieces, each 42 x 59.4 cm/16.5 x 34″
In situ Back Lane West, Redruth, UK
What Once Was is a collection of thirty-one paintings, each one a loose rendition of photographed boats. As research for designing and making the tea bag boat, I documented a wide variety of small vessels tethered in harbours all along the Cornish coast. These photographs became an ocular journal —a way to record not only shapes, sizes, colours and watery places but to act as a reminder of the emotional and exteroceptive aspects of living a life by the sea. These stripped down painted interpretations displace the object boat from its watery setting, visually referring to inner/outer, conscious/subconscious, geographic/ethereal. They are unplanned, unmeasured, unrefined. The water drenched with pigment is allowed to forge its own course as the paper buckles to accommodate moisture while the drips and bleeds that move from the basic boat forms speak beyond shapes and shadows into movement and motion. They dwell in the interstices of what once was.
The Stories I Tell | A fantastical look at a daily drawing project
Graphite on paper 160 x 518 cm | 63″ x 204″
Initially this drawing was tied to my ideas around the Day-to-Day Aesthetics methodology, meaning the daily, mindful practice of art through action, observation and recording. However after working this way for six months I moved flats and was no longer able to work on it for a minimum of ten minutes a day. The project changed course and rather than a finished piece predominantly about process, it became an embodiment of the original impetus for starting the work: my sense of displacement and struggle with a lack of available space to work. The hallway in my former flat was an expanse of uninterrupted space whose purpose was not, of course, for drawing. There was only about one metre to stand back and assess the piece as it progressed but rather than being frustrated by this, I became excited about how it would look and how it would be read when shown in a spatially unrestrained area. The lack of space to assess such a large drawing became key to the composition and even what areas received more attention.
With no specific starting plan, the piece evolved in specific areas rather than holistically, the left side receiving far more attention than the right, which was closer to the glass entrance door and far less warm. This evolution followed my natural inclination to read from left to right, and so when it came to the last few months of drawing, I worked almost exclusively on the right hand side. In order to continue working on the piece after moving from the flat where it was conceived, it was rolled up, wrapped in plastic and on seven weekends I spent two or three days drawing in a large seminar room on campus. There I was able to step back from it for the first time. The forced close perspective of the hall gave way to the large expanse and with no set horizon, the composition became distorted, like looking through a wide angle lens that produced a mild visual vertigo. At this stage, I realized that I had created an imaginary geographical place, albeit one that made little or no sense. In this place there is a single boat and shrouded in darker graphite strokes, three buildings that are not immediately noticeable. There also appears to be a shoreline, rounded stones, plant life, some winged creatures (or perhaps they are leaves), a suggestion of daylight and of night time, but all this is geographic anachronism with no singular reference point.
On one of the weekends when I was working in the Library Seminar Room, I had the benefit of some feedback from my MFA supervisor, Dr. Daro Montag. I answered some basic questions about intent, the evolving of context of certain elements and what, if any, was the single boat meant to represent. When required to think about a work that is in progress and that has grown organically out of what felt like necessity, new ideas and thoughts spring forward in unexpected ways. I relayed to him that one of my first ideas was to populate the drawing with many boats but that after drawing the outline of the first one, I knew there need only be one. The drawing, after all, was intended as a sort of nest building within a feeling of displacement and while all the organic and natural aspects of the drawing surely were the metaphorical home, the boat had become the self. It was then suggested that for months I had been working on a self portrait -a sprawling, nonsensical, visual endogeny.
Now, in its finished state, it is no longer a mystery unfolding but a rather surprising outcome born from dislocation and frustration. The question I asked at the beginning of this undertaking Can a daily drawing practice provide catharsis or comfort to the displaced artist? has been answered with a resounding Yes.