I've been busy all week composing some new drawings with repetitive lines: continuing with stacking, layering, erasing, ordering.. this is the latest drawing from the series of 'tumbling and stacked boxes'
Untitled: 5 tumbling boxes (graphite on paper, 42 x 59.4 cm)
I have also decided that for my exhibition I will make a drawing using this process that will be installed in one of the gallery spaces at the Artists Unlimited Gallery. The space I will mount the drawing on will be across 3 walls with a total measurement of 9m 24 cm - so i have really got my work cut out for this piece.
Again i am plotting found and randomly generated numbers into a polygon which has been mapped out and masked off to give a straight edge - trying to give some order to the disorder of repetitively drawing and erasing lines -( and everything that occurs in between)
The piece does not have a title so far, but I am noting down how many lines are being drawn during each drawing session, and I suspect that this may have an influence on the drawings title in the end.
Here is the beginnings of what is going to be a very long winded process..
Just the beginning...
I have also been playing around with a process of drawing a series of quick lines, whilst blind folded, to generate some new ideas about creating new forms, playing around with confined spaces and environments on the paper surface. To help me to see the forms more clearly I have decided to give each newly determined form an identity - either a graphite surface or a specific colour. I'm really enjoying creating these new shapes and compositions from a simple few free formed lines, understanding forms and putting things into a new order feels satisfying and intriguing.
I don't really see these as finished works, more like small sketches of investigation into how line creations can lead to complex surfaces and structures. ... like creating a state of becoming something rather than being static..
A few examples - I have made many of these pieces
Made across five separate surfaces and positioned together, the order of the pieces can be changed around
Here are some snaps of some further work using pencils, lines, erasers and measurements, which were made over the weekend. The work is now starting to play with spacial concerns of the surface area of the paper, and I'm becoming more and more interested in stacking, piling and toppling lines and blocks.
I've been sat at my desk in the studio for the past week with my head down, drawing thousands upon thousands of pencil lines. Though my neck, arm and hand are a bit sore, I'm happy with the results of my hard labour.
I have been collecting numbers from everywhere; public transport time tables, food packaging, receipts, from websites, basically any time I see numbers I've been jotting them down in my notebook. The source of the numbers isn't really that important, I just need a bank of random numbers to make my drawings. There are also some great 'random number generator' websites if I need a large bulk of numbers at once.
I have been drawing lines with graphite and drawing lines with an eraser; constantly drawing, erasing, redrawing. It all contributes to a system that hopefully creates a drawing that is transformative, generative, one that can never be predetermined, but the process of making the drawing is very defined from the outset.
This type of process is very much about trail and error, looking for the imperfections and taking those ideas to generate new systems . It feels a bit like a machine, turning one system into the next, which leads into the next series of drawings... it never ends!
As with my earlier experiments, I have been plotting lines on an x, y axis, taking 3 numbers at a time: 2 numbers define the section of the surface to draw lines in quick succession with a pencil and a ruler, and the 3rd number which determines at which point I will erase, by freehand and with my eyes closed (just to 'spice' it up a bit, haha), at that point.
In this piece: Untitled: 30'659' the process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times and is divided into 4 areas. Each area is worked on separately and contains over 200 plotted numbers.
The Drawing in progress
Untitled: 30'659 (detail)
Untitled: 30'659 (graphite on paper)
By the way, 30'659 is the total sum of the area in which the lines have been made, in millimeters.
The next series of drawings are made in a similar way.
My starting point is to draw a line that is made by placing a pencil in my left hand, closing my eyes and drawing a single line across the surface.
Using found numbers once again, the lines are plotted along the free hand line created at the start of the drawing, again in groups of 3; 2 numbers to determine a block in which to place very quickly drawing lines, 1 number the determine where an erased line will appear.
First few experiments (Untitled series 3)
Untitled: 3.2 (Detail)
Untitled: 3.3 (Detail)
And, I have started to really enjoy plotting lines along the curved line, so i made a quick experiment using the sphere at a space to plot random numbers along a curved line - which has sparked a few more ideas for me to carry on with over the next few days.
I am pleased to report, that despite to postal strikes back in the UK, that the postcards have been arriving safely at the gallery. The postcards are being displayed in a book, for visitors to view throughout my residency here in Bielefeld. The postcards reflect my current work, research and experiences from the residency, whilst also providing viewers a picturesque and traditional tourist view of Bielefeld from current and past times on the reverse side of the postcards.
Rachael Elwell is a visual artist from Greater Manchester UK, who researches drawing processes, experimental mark marking methods and uses mixed media to create her works.
Often inspired by rules, systems and repetitive actions, her work is often subject to chance occurrences as a result of exploiting the systems and methods initially employed to create her drawings.
Rachael Elwell continues her practice from Islington Mill Studios, Salford UK
Postcards from Bielefeld has been created to document my time living and working at Artists unlimited, Bielefeld Germany, where I am the artist in residence from October '09 - Jan '10.
This blog will document:
- New drawing works in progress
- A project made for Touchstones Rochdale Art Gallery
- Sights of Bielefeld
I hope you enjoy reading this blog, please leave your comments.
Postcards From Bielefeld - a project for Touchstones Rochdale Art Gallery
In response to her residency and her time in Bielefeld, Rachael Elwell will send a postcard to Touchstones Rochdale each week documenting her experiences. When each postcard arrives it will be added to a display book in the entrance to the Art Gallery at Touchstones Rochdale for visitors to look at. Some of the postcards will also appear online.
Postcard Archive:: Click image and view all of the postcards in the archive
Click on the Artists Unlimited logo to take you to their website
Where is Bielefeld?
Click on image to go to the official Bielefeld website