The ORLO, Natural Forces, and Giving Up the Notion of Convergence - Summer 2005

‘Kicking off’ with the ORLO – that extreme limit, or outline, of my pattern / figure / form, the subject of this summer’s work has shifted between the ORLO to the GRID and back again. According to my intuitive sense.

But the ORLO has been the most dominant form, showing – if not proving – that length, width, and quality of line are enough to describe the entire body. (1) So long as the ORLO be precise. Natural forces have returned, thanks to a change in posture, necessitated by the expansion of the form. (2) In consequence, my more plastic, rhythmic lines refused to converge: drawing line upon trace, as had been my custom, now required too much will. (The trace leaned in one direction, while the line wanted, naturally, to lean in the other). So by giving up the notion of convergence, and letting each line fall as it would, the drawings recovered their former ‘swing’. They could ‘flash conviction’(3) on the viewer, of their human experience. According to her intuitive sense.(4)

1. Leon Battista Alberti. See studio jottings, ‘Selected Jottings and Reflections, January– June 2005’ (23/03/05).

2. Now bent at the waist, reaching out and over my trace in order to pick up the topmost point of my trace. By simply swinging up and back to my standing posture, the drawn line flowed naturally, in line with the forces of gravity.

3. George Eliot. See studio jotting, ‘Summer Jottings: Flashing Conviction, July–August 2004’.

4. Many thanks to Tommy Karshan, for alerting me to Schiller’s definition of the play drive: “[…] will endeavour so as to receive as if it had brought forth, and so bring forth as the intuitive sense aspires to receive”. See Schiller’s Letters Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man. Or, in the words of Plotinus, Ennead IV 6.2–3: “The mind affirms something not contained within impression: this is the characteristic of a power – within its allotted sphere to act”. Or, as David Wiggins puts it, quoting Plotinus: “The mind gives radiance to the objects of sense out of its own store”. A jotting that I wrote on 1 August 2005 also helps to illustrate what I mean: “I am bent at the waist, over the page, arm (with graphite) extended to the top of the [trace]. Lifting now from the waist, the line is drawn over and through the sheet in a smooth movement… guided always by natural forces. (So that the viewer, too, might straighten up in response to the good work).”