Annie Martin

Temporal Drawings- artist statement– Annie Martin

Since 2010, I have been making an on-going series of works on paper entitled temporal drawings. These works explore the relationship between existing light, barely perceptible transitions and “light marks,” and the passage of time, and are executed using light from the sun filtered by fixed and incidental props (windows, glass, objects). The drawings are rendered in graphite, aquarelle pencil and ink on various papers, each within a fixed period of time, often one hour. Fine marks accumulate over the space of a drawing session to create lacy webs that evoke space, time, and light.

This series of work extends, in part, from the live audio installations I have been making since 2006, and from my interest in what occurs when attention is tuned to the almost imperceptible. Related to meditation practice, and to states of heightened consciousness, this kind of attention offers an antidote to the boredom associated with confined space and striated, limited portions of time.

My art practice crosses diverse materials and media and is characterized by my interest in sensory sensitivity and reading at the limits of signification. Through my work, I intend to make tangible and available to experience the exceptional phenomena embedded in matter and site, even at their apparently most banal.
While my work traverses media as diverse as painting /drawing, installation, sound art and performance practices, all of my projects reveal a concern with the intricacy of perception in its inextricable relationship to something akin to narrative, or naming, or the pictorial imagination. Starting with simple sensations, I intend to place focus on the moment of embodied perception, extended to allow for deeper reflection. Events such as marks, sounds and actions are distanced from their context in an act of abstraction that frees them from a referential framework (in sound, Pierre Schaeffer’s concept of the acousmatic). Representation, figuration and narrative are thus revealed as the creation of the viewer-perceiver, and the nature of these structures and forms is made available for reflection.

Often ephemeral, these projects require my presence, movement, and relationship to the place to set them in motion. The most recent, site-specific works arise out of my interest in using my own body and senses as instruments, colliding myself with the materiality of the site, and then sharing the experience.

Temporal Drawings- background– Annie Martin

My work in drawing over the past 9 years has supplemented my work in sound installation, filling in the space around those periodic and labour-intensive projects, and allowing me to think/feel my way through questions that arise for me. I love paper, and the calm space of sitting with a piece of paper over time.

From 2005-2007, I worked on a series of “drawings” in gesso on found musical manuscript, thinking about the space between visual notation and freely associative visual pleasure, different kinds of “reading”, and on another level, about the space between the visual and sound.

Sometime in 2010, I had been making ink blot drawings based on the sensation of being inside ones’ head, “looking” (sensing) out through the eye portals.

I felt the desire to move further away from representation, and deeper into drawing. Found a book about the visual art of John Cage, whom I had been interested in for some time. In it, his process of setting simple parameters of time for his work was described. I decided to allow this to be an instruction to me- I sat down with a sheet of paper and the intention to draw for one hour. A big pile of drawing implements at my side. Eyes closed. What resulted was a big mess.

Sitting down another day to try again, I saw that on my sheet of paper, there was already a beautiful, extremely subtle array of light marks- marks of reflected and refracted light from the sun outside my window, passing through leaves and objects on the sill. The round disc of the sun appeared here and there as lozenges of light refracted through leaves. I began to draw this by flowing the contours of what I saw. I drew for an hour. The most astounding, simple thing happened in this hour. The patches of light gradually shifted. The earth tilted a little to the right, and the light slid to the left. Time.

That late summer and early fall, while the sun was at the right angle, I continued to draw. I refined the rules. One sheet of paper. One hour. The drawing implements were all sharpened and ready, lined up at random beside me. I would pick one up, draw “everything” I could perceive on the paper, and then pick up the next implement and begin again. At first, nothing. After an hour, something. My thoughts during this process were very quiet, but would sometimes arrive in surprising places. Watching time pass. Mortality. The inside of my head, inside of the studio. The “point of view” of the paper, receiving the light of the sun. Myself as an intermediary. Planets and their size and movement. Being situated. The beauty of light. Light refracted into rainbows. Joy.

In June of 2011, I travelled to Utah to visit the Sun Tunnels and other land art sites, curious about the idea of “pilgrimage” in relationship to art. I planned to record sound, and I brought paper and drawing materials in the car. At sun tunnels, a brisk wind blew almost constantly, making sound recording difficult. I brought my drawing materials into the shelter of the interior of one of the tunnels, and set up to work. An elliptical disc of light from one of the perforations in the tunnel appeared on the paper. I drew it as it moved, visibly, rapidly, across the paper. For a few days I continued to sit and draw there. The discs scanned across the paper like beings. On their paths.

Back in my studio late that summer, I began to test the boundaries of my rules, experimenting with how a change in the rules would change the outcome and sensation of the drawing. I removed all the coloured implements, and introduced circular objects to the windowsill. The drawings were more reserved, darker, more like a seismographic record, more like musical manuscript, data.

Since that time, I have continued to make these drawings, and have shown them in suites. In 2014, I made a very large-scale light drawing on the wall of a gallery in Sudbury. The texture of the wall was surprising. I wasn’t entirely satisfied, but it was an interesting experience. 24 hours. Thinking about Marcel Duchamp’s “ tu m’ ”

For the exhibition with Dagmar, David and Mary, I will make a very long drawing in a similar manner, on a long scroll of paper. The paper will be rolled out for each session, and shifted as the days pass. My intention is to draw for up to 24 hours in total.

I am also interested in the resemblance of the drawings to sound notation, and would like to invite musicians to come to the exhibition and interpret the drawing as a score.

My intention is that the drawing will be displayed on a long bench, in the centre of the space. The horizontal orientation will reflect how it was made, and resists the pictorial effect of a window on the wall.

AM 2014

images of the work for the exhibition in progress, September 14.

progressing one hour at a time on sunny days. 

ink pen, ink and brush and graphite on kitakata (gampi) paper scroll. Finished length will be about 24 ft, 16.25 inches wide.

temporal drawings

temporal drawings 2010. mixed media on paper

sun tunnel drawings 2011. mixed media on paper, images from the site

studio images 2011

temporal drawings 2011

172: d'apres <tu m'> 2014. mixed media on wall.
(photo: L. Beaudry)

background: some sound installations:

sensitive room 2006. live audio installation in apartment, St-Henri
(Photo: P. Litherland)

ciel 2006. live audio installation at Galerie B312 
(Photo: P. Litherland)

outside of sound 2007. sound components, linen, cotton canvas, whitewash, bleach. 
(photo: D. Miller and P. Mala-Miller)

(im)permeable 2008. trench coats, textiles, audio components, live audio networks.

live/archive 2009. fm transmitter, audio components. 
(photo: AXENEO7)

everything that rises 2013. audio components, mixed media, radio receivers.
(photo: pith projects)

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