Eight × 8 moves - Winter 2006/Spring 2007

“Where 1000 variations of three simple movements fill up the time between train and train.” Hugh Kenner, on Beckett.

And so it happened. On the 27th and 28th of February, while making prints at Pratt Editions, in Kent, three simple movements filled up my time between arrival and departure by train.

Down-up-turn, down-up-turn, repeated 8 times for each work. Once I’d succeeded with the special-edition print, twenty further images followed, each the result of those ‘three simple movements’. (1)

Out of twenty, eight were selected to become a portfolio, entitled Eight Moves (2007). And the form? It’s a vertical rectangle divided once down the centre. Or nearly: according to my intuitive self.

(1) This print is called Eight Moves. It accompanies the special edition of Marks, the artist’s book by Linda Karshan and Tamar Yoseloff, published by Pratt Contemporary Art, 2007

Proportional Beauty, and Action - Autumn 2006

“a body in motion is a body in thought…”(1)

Leonardo was looking for vital form, and analogy. He was constantly searching for a universal system of proportion that would explain the fundamental workings of forces. Further, he was the first to tie the artist’s notion of proportional beauty into the wider setting of proportional action of all the powers in nature. (2) 

Proportional action is at the core of my being; it determines all that I do. From my mind, where I experience proportion as numbers and rhythms, through my body onto the sheet, proportional beauty gets marked out. In this way I show that man can be measured, and that my measure is my reach as performed in real time.



1. Martin Herbert, ‘To See a Body Think: three essays on the work of Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham and Karole Armitage’. Modern Painters, December 2006–January 2007, pp. 100–07.

2. These thoughts were distilled from ‘Renaissance Man’, a book review by Adam Gopnick, in The New Yorker, 17 January 2005, pp. 82–86. One of the books reviewed was by Martin Kemp, whose exhibition of Leonardo’s drawings at the V&A, September–December 2006, was very much in mind that autumn.

Two Clear Days - Summer 2006

On the 17th and 18th of August, complexity re-entered the work: more movement of my body, remembered there, elaborated itself on the sheet.

But these forms were somehow heightened – even punctuated – as these complex marks-and-moves had learned a lot! Tracking out these smarter moves felt precarious, in the extreme: it was as if nothing was by chance, and yet everything was by chance. (2) I was breathless to get it right down on the page. It helped, though, that these clearer days were also rather cool: with my fan turned of I could better hear, and listen, to the sound of my work. “Listen. Just Listen”.(3) And in that way the rhythm took hold. And it kept me “in that state of perhaps real trance, in which the mind liberated from the pressure of the will is unfolded in symbols”.(4)

1. On a Clear Day, 1973. The title of a suite of prints by Agnes Martin. Matthias Bärmann referred to it in the context of my work, saying, “On a clear day. That’s Linda Karshan weather” (Galerie Biedermann, April 2006).

2. I said this in my artist’s statement, ‘The Assigned Figure, or “existence is a curve”’ in McCully, Measure Without Measure.

3. Studio jottings, ‘Flashing Conviction, Summer 2004’ (6/08/04).

4. Yeats, ‘On the Symbolism of Poetry’. First quoted by me in a footnote in ‘The Greek Thing,’ and thereafer in my jottings

Spring 2006

“It’s a question of something that happens, almost a routine, and it is this dailiness and this materiality… that need to be brought out.”(1)

Forms ‘show up’, then shift in obedience to my intuitive sense. Here’s “what mind and body can do”.(2) And heart.

1. Beckett, in notes to his German direction of Waiting for Godot.

2. Matthias Bärmann, in his opening remarks to the 15th-anniversary exhibition at Galerie Biedermann, Munich, April 2006.


Winter Statement - 30 March 2006

My practice is not about reduction. The increasingly simple, yet complex, forms in the work are a marking out, in time, of an inner choreography: I draw out the numbers and rhythms as directly as possible. Changes in form are nothing but shifts of choreography.

“Dance is an action AND a thing.” Charles Olson, 25 May 1952, in a letter to Merce Cunningham