While there seems to be some momentum in my writing, I figured I would try and close out my thoughts about my Daily Drawings so I can move on tomorrow to tackling future directions and activities. After my exhibition at hasu no hana, I started to think more and more about the relationships between my Daily Drawings Project and Memory Walks Project and their relationships to unconscious and conscious memory.
When the work is first encountered and viewed without explanation, some of the more common reactions are how detailed (i.e. obsessive) the marks are. I have also had people ask me if they are prints rather than drawings. I am also met with surprise when I mention that most of these drawings were made during my commute.
When a deeper conversation takes place and it is revealed that I also work as a molecular biologist, there almost always a re-engagement with the work that looks for connections with my research work or people have an “Aha!” moment. It seems to help people to anchor the work in some sort of context. I, myself, have also incorporated that into my own description of the work as I see that it does help to provide an additional entry point into the work. These different reactions have helped me to locate the Daily Drawings in their own context and perhaps a bit in relationship to unconscious memory. However, the relationship between the two projects had yet to be directly addressed
For my solo exhibition “Everyday Circuits”, I wanted at least one aspect of the exhibition to provide the next step in exploring the relationship between these two projects. Through multiple discussions with Gallery Camellia director, Naoko Harada, we decided to take a smaller scale approach to these projects as they have been the main focus of previous exhibitions. The exhibition at Gallery Camellia would be a way to bridge these two projects with other ideas in my studio practice that she had been interested in developing.
For “Everyday Circuits”, I focused on the ten days in 2016 that I visited Gallery Camellia to see an exhibition, do research for my exhibition, attend an event, or just say hello. I created a quartet of works for each of those days. One component consisted of the Daily Drawing that I made in 2016 on the day I visited the gallery. The second component of the work consisted of a Memory Walk drawing I made between 4 months to 16 months after I visited the gallery. The third component of the work consisted of a Memory Walk drawing of a day I visited the gallery, but was drawn within a day of repeating the same walks on that given day. Okay, that might be a bit confusing. My idea was to repeat the walks as a way of bring the memory of the those walks into the present. The walks would not be exactly the same as I took on the actual day since I only had departure points as reference, but I would be able to discern any gaps or mistakes in my memory of the walks and document them in a drawing. I wanted to experience the realization of gaps or misrepresentations of my memory and use the drawings to document those gaps. The fourth component of the work for each day was a Daily Drawing that I made during the repeat of the walks for a given day. Again, the idea was to try and draw connections. This time I wanted to try and connect my unconscious memory through the Daily Drawings. By juxtaposing all four of these components in a single work, I thought it would be a way for me to look at the relationships between these four components in all combinations. This is what one of those days looked like in the gallery.
I spent a lot of time with these works over the two weeks of the exhibition. I will address the relationships between the two projects as well as within the Memory Walks in a later note. For now, I am interested in the relationships between the two drawings. On the surface, the following are some of the impressions that have stuck with me. The two drawings both have a square shape and use vertical mark making. On the other hand the size of the drawings are different as well as the color of the lines. It is a rather simple analysis, but it is a starting point. In my discussions with various people who viewed the work, I began to think about all the variables that could influence the final form of the drawings. Did I have a seat when I made the drawing? Was I listening to anything when I was making the drawing? Was I self-conscious of making the drawing while people were nearby? What was my mood when I was making the drawing? Some broader questions might include my choice of pen thickness and color, the type of paper I was drawing on, the choice of mark making motifs, etc. The list could actually go on and on, but I will stop there.
Take a look at another day.
Trying to connect these two drawings required more work and since it is late, I will leave that to readers of this note. Please feel to leave any thoughts and comments after you finishing reading this. What I will say is that my initial reaction to these two drawings is that there are no obvious relationships between the works, maybe one of the motifs of the repetitive mark making.
The contrast in connections and lack of connections certainly lends to a sense of uncertainty about if this approach is going to bear fruit. However, by the end of the “Everyday Circuits” exhibition, I came to the conclusion that I have over 400 Daily Drawings since 2015 to use as source material. I have 320 Daily Drawings from 2016 and 2017 to use as source material and I have over 140 Daily Drawings (and counting) from 2017 to use as source materials. The complexity of the relationships between two drawings made me realize that working with just the Daily Drawings would be a large enough project for the Nakanojo Biennale. So instead of trying to merge those two projects into one installation, I am going to focus on the Daily Drawings and looking for relationships between the drawings. To start, I want to look at the color of the drawing, the drawing tool, the day of the week it was made, the motifs, and even how much of the page was occupied with marks. That is already a lot of variables. There is a tendency for me to go down the path of the scientific method and adhere to set parameters for relationships. However, I am prepared to use a blend of the scientific method along with my visual intuition and fragments of memories that might be associated with each drawing to create relationships between all the drawings.
I should also add that I have an additional variable for this project which is to make Daily Drawings during my visits and stays in Nakanojo to explore the differences and similarities of making drawings in the confines of an urban environment versus the more expansive and open countryside.
How I address these relationships and variables will be dynamic as I will certainly adjust and re-adjust my approach to the installation as the work develops with new drawings and more thorough considerations of the relationships of the drawings. I also will need to do some more extensive research into unconscious memory if the variables that I am considering are valid or not.
As I mentioned before in my long overdue first post of 2017, I need to see visit and be in the Sawatari Gallery space before I decide whether to use 400, 320, or 140 or so drawings as source material to find connections in my unconscious mark making. I also know that I need to address what I mean when I say unconscious mark making as I realize that it is by no means a completely unconscious process in which I make these drawings.
I am going to close the third part of the notes on my Daily Drawings there. For those of you interested, you can see all my drawings from 2016 at the following link at my website.
You can also see the drawings that I have been making in 2017 at the following link at my website. I have currently included up to drawing #140 on there. You can also check back on this blog regular to see the drawings from #141 on.
I will talk more about future projects and activities in the next post before returning to my Memory Walks Project to discuss what I have done with that project over the last year or so and where I plan to take that project.