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preparatory drawing, thoughts towards Aeolian

Aeolian was made while artist-in-residence at the Usher Gallery in Lincoln 2004. The residency formed a live accompaniment to the drawing show Marks in Space also being held at the Usher. Aeolian was exhibited in the show.

The guiding impulse for the work grew from a desire to extend the space and time in which the drawing occurs, while the themes of breath, spirit, the immaterial which permeates much of my work also found a form here.

The work began with the collecting of discarded pieces of paper from the streets of Lincoln, things which are subject to the force of the wind - a wage packet, a bootleg CD cover, a Royal Mail delivery note, religious text from the Baghavad-Gita, a forlorn love letter, such things were found. These were then set to flame and the ash individually stored. Within the studio several sheets of drawing paper were laid on the ground around which a wooden plank bridging two stepladders was constructed. Whilst perched on the plank I sifted the ash from one of the burnt papers onto the sheets below. Using my finger each particle of ash was then pressed into the fabric of the paper.

A continuous dialogue was set up between the activities occurring within the studio and the exhibition space, with the sheets being pinned up on the exhibition wall immediately after having been worked on. Later the same sheets but in a different configuration would return to the studio for more marks to be applied.

Over the course of the exhibition the viewer was presented with a series of different configurations as the drawing slowly evolved.


The space between the plank, the stepladders and the paper, which I imagine to have tropospheric dimensions, this is where the drawing gets worked out, gets thought through.


I feel a sense of mind being inherent to this process, where each particle lands a sense of placement. I tried to incorporate the whole space of the studio into the making of the drawing. The sifting of the ash occurred close to the edges by the entrance with the door open and closed, thinking that the subtle air flow through the gaps would contribute to the form.


The drawing took place underneath the airshafts in the ceiling on days that were breezy, causing the fans to spin. In their descent the particles were carried along by the air currents while simultaneously giving a visible form to these small winds. Some may attain escape velocity and leak away from the confines of this world, landing beyond the terrain of cotton-rag. It is within this space where the real drawing takes place.

papers found on the streets of Lincoln.
(click to expand)
found papers
love letter
troposphere (the mind within the drawing)
sifting ash.

photo credit: Phil Crow

photo credit: Phil Crow
pressing ash
Aeolian, 2004
Installation: Usher Gallery, Lincoln UK
Aeolian, details
(click to expand)
photo credit: Phil Crow
final image
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