Plimsoll Gallery 2010 Invitation

An Investigation into Process and Gesture Drawing Through Ideas of Presence in the Landscape - Plimsoll Gallery - July 2010

Following is an edited version of Davidís Master of Fine Art by Research abstract that accompanied his examination submission in July 2010.

The aim of the research project was to create an expressive body of drawings derived from exploring personal experiences with place and landscape. The objective was to visually capture experiential and emotive dimensions of place as an alternate way of depicting landscape and understanding place.

The impetus for the project and its subject matter derived through personal experience of Tasman Island that lies approximately one kilometre off the southeastern coast of Tasmania. Primarily, I was drawn to the island by its wild and imposing natural elements and its wildly varying weather conditions. Throughout the project four trips were made to the island and these, together with both historical and pictorial accounts of the island, form the basis of imagery.

Mark making and gesture were central to methods. Approaches to mark-making were explored through a variety of figurative forms from representational through to purely abstract. The objective was to establish drawing forms that best expressed a sense of an embodied relationship to landscape and place.

Key within these methods was the use of the scribble and rhythmic gestural drawing. Explorations within mark-making were expanded through investigation into figure and ground relations and through adoption of processes of chance. As the project developed the performative dimensions elemental to large-scale gestural drawing became increasingly important.

The project was primarily located with reference to the work of Gosia Wlodarczak, Claude Heath, Akio Makigawa and Vija Celmins as well as three 19th century drawings of Tasman Island. Works are discussed in relation to core conceptual and methodological focus of the project, specifically how each artist has employed mark-making and gesture to express a deeply personal experience of landscape and to place.

The outcomes of the project were evidenced through large-scale works comprising the submission exhibition, through backup works and supporting exegesis. These outputs contribute to the field of art practice concerned with issues of environment and place but also to broader philosophical debates about the relationship of humans, subjectivity and the natural environment. Through their forging a deeper connection to place and the natural environment the drawings provided an alternate to more conventional visualisations that gave primacy to objectified representations of place.

Grass, 150 cm x 720 cm, charcoal on paper Cliff, 150 cm x 720 cm, charcoal on 4 sheets of paper Sky, 150 cm x 720 cm, charcoal on 4 sheets of paper Pathway, 150 cm x 975 cm, charcoal on 26 sheets of paper Drawing the Edge, charcoal on paper, 200 cm x 100 cm (finalist, 2008 City of Hobart Art Prize) (private collection) Outside In, charcoal on paper, 250 cm x 650 cm Dark Crevice, charcoal on 10 sheets of paper 165 cm x 150 cm, total 330 cm x 750 cm Light Crevice, charcoal on 8 sheets of paper 165 cm x 150 cm, total 330 cm x 600 cm