For my current project Skin, research has been focused on investigating the potential of drawing to uncover and convey the felt experience of architectural sites.¹ I am examining a relationship between the felt experience of a place and the felt experience of drawing and the aspects that each may uncover.
In terms of experiencing a place, I am engaging with aspects revealed through the visual reception of textural surfaces that may lead to further analysis through touch, noticing traces that may have been made through human use or from an architect’s hand, or breathing air, turning to face light or shade to further explore atmosphere, taking a moment to assimilate these felt clues to form a picture of the history of the space. As well as uncovering clues, this sensory experience can produce pleasure that I am also exploring through drawing.
Nancy analyses many pleasurable aspects of drawing, such as sense, interruption, tension, gesture and repetition, that I recognise in this project.² Working with a specific focus (surface drawings of three concrete bricks) and limited materials (graphite on pergamenata paper), I am testing a potential approach, repetitively drawing, noting my experience of drawing. Noting aspects such as the anticipation of each drawing just before the first mark is made, wondering what may be revealed, or the tension between felt and thought, aspiring for felt as far as possible, or engaging with the surface of the brick, enjoying the texture that changes through repetitive handling, interrupting the memory of each indent gained through active engagement, or considering the impact of gesture, drawing from the inside out, or outside in, and the influence of the outside line.
Most of all, noticing that each brick drawing is different, even slightly, not just from the impact of repetitive handling, but also from felt engagement, a duality of touch in both reception and expression.
¹ Susan Collis, Remainder, shown When we loved you best of all, Touchstones Rochdale 2017; Do Ho Suh, Rubbing/Loving Project, shown Venice Architecture Biennale 2018; Guiseppe Penone, wall surface drawings, shown A Tree in the Wood, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2018
² Nancy J-L (2013) The Pleasure in Drawing, Fordham University Press