I’ve done two more of the large pastel-over-white-inscribed-rose-petal drawings. I print the images myself to the largest paper size that my printer will accommodate and then tape the pieces together to form the large petals. The pastel I use for the over-drawing is Schminke. It has a buttery texture, easily crumbles into a powder and the colors are super intense. I’m ready to do more drawings, but I’ve run out of the Schminke pastel, have to wait for an order to arrive, and reluctant to change to another brand of pastel in the middle of a series.
Working on these large drawings is such great fun. The cerulean and cobalt blue are colors that I’ve used for over-drawing since I started the rose scribing process, but here I get to use the colors on a larger scale. The idea for the blue comes from Jean-Luc Nancy. In the essay, “The Image – The Distinct” (Ground of the Image), he says that “Every image has its sky even if it is represented as outside the image or is not represented at all.” I was intrigued by the statement, and thus decided to use ‘blues’ as trace references to Nancy’s text.
When I first started working with the red rose petals in January of 2010, (cf. Withdrawn: scribing Nancy for that project) I looked for other ways of using and documenting the roses beyond the scribing and tattooing of the petal surface. I explored the petals as a possible drawing medium, to see what kinds of marks the rose dye could make. I filled several long rolls of drawing vellum with ‘rose skids’ (each petal crushed and smashed and dragged against the surface of the paper). Using every single petal of each rose – including the yellowish stamens and pistels – the work also served to document/present each rose in an alternate manner.
I posted 2 blogs on these rose skids early on here (see entries for January 4 and 6th, 2011, “Side Things” and More Rose Skids”). I’ve taken that initial work a step further and used it as the space to explore new drawings. Flowers have been used by some pretty heavy-weight artists (just to name a few I admire – Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Cy Twomby). So, I’ve acknowledged the precedence set by the above artists directly in my drawings. This I have done as text scribbles. Of course, I’ve also added Jean-Luc Nancy’s name since I’ve been appropriating his work for almost two years now.
In this essay, Visitation (Jean-Luc Nancy), which I have been exploring for some time now, Nancy talks about painting – as painting (another visitation, another “site of conception”). In fact, as I interpret Nancy’s words – he sees Pontormo’s work as pure painting, beyond its religious content: pregnant with birth – but another kind of birth – that is, of painting itself. “This mêlée begins and ends in the painting, and as a painting,” he says, describing the unfolding and the interweaving of color and cloth and light and figures.
I have been thinking about drawing – and what drawing as drawing would mean? Cy Twombly comes to mind – mark, gesture, scribble, color, paint, texture, surface and script. No attempt at representation, yet his work is laden with references, to art history, to literature, to poetry. I think also of Elizabeth MacKenzie’s iPad work (cf: Scribbles and other entries on her site). There too is the act of pure mark-making. Even her portraits, dissolving in puddles of inky color, straddle the tense space between recognition of a face and the blur of ambiguity.
The text in the drawings below comes from the Coda of Nancy’s essay.