Drawings can be of any material when they preference the materials and tools. I work in watercolor and ceramics. Drawings have two dimensions. Or, could have three if we add depth to the plane: it is not impossible. Space has three dimensions. Or, could have four if we dared to add a story, a narrative, or memory: it is not impossible.
what are drawings
Conceptually framed drawings contain a potential broader than things made to communicate the visual nature of an object or place. It is a mode considering intentions and attitudes, literal aspects and abstract thoughts, complexities and contradictions, fantasies and intricate relationships, along with fragmented notions. While the process of drawing can be both tangible and speculative, it is the speculative nature that can provide a significant contribution to the process of making. Without the firmness required of representing an object, one can investigate ideas of space, narrative, texture, order (and disorder), connection, human perception of time passage, and material.
Through this ambiguity a drawing can transform a notion, idea, or concept and allow for one concept to connect to another. By embracing the conceptual nature of representation the author has developed a body of work which translates common objects from nature into a complex watercolor drawing to understand the elements which are kept and things lost in translation. The drawings utilize themes and organizational devices from landscapes, historical narratives, and built environments.
Watercolor drawings use water media emphasizing mark making revealing the tool and media used in executing the painting.
what are my drawings
I make drawings that are emotional and technical but with a colorist's sensibility. They link the visual language of landscape, color theory, and constructed elements. The watercolor drawings are made by observing environmental phenomena (here referred to as natural characters such as wind, clouds, shadow, noise, birds, horizon, etc.) and through abstraction assisting these characters to describing an essential story about the landscape and built environment of the Midwestern United States. Some characters are rendered in the form of gestures, some with drafted lines and curves, some of collaged photographic elements, and other of constructed pieces of wood floating above the plane of the paper. As these characters are coaxed into interactions, a complex narrative emerges revealing an underlying, perhaps subconscious, story about the context. The drawings incorporate physical elements embedded into the surface of the paper. John figures if Jim Dine can attach a real light switch to paper and call it a painting--he can add wood and metal parts and still call it a drawing.
A recent series of watercolor drawings (Cloud Constellations, exhibited at The Cage Gallery, Ohio) focusing on clouds used the following process:
The background layer (dots and lines) uses facial recognition and fingerprint identification technologies to generate points in the image of a cloud. The second layer consists of quick gestures capturing the profile of the clouds. Followed by watercolor and wooden elements depicting meteorologic data. The last, wool is used to represent (with whimsey) soft-fluffy clouds stitched to the other information. All interconnected into a complex narrative of the natural phenomena the the series is organized into a constellation of clouds.
The drawings are unsettling, even frightening, presenting us with a world were we must work to navigate. Rationality and emotion are needed in equal measure and will meet in our imaginations.