Summer 2007 - In the wake of Copenhagen

(1)These drawings followed in the wake of Copenhagen. Making prints there, between 21-28 June, required endurance and concentration, in the extreme.

This I transported to Connecticut. In my summer studio, positioned upon a square rubber mat (an idea also ‘lifted’ from Copenhagen), I picked up where I had left of. And I kept in mind, too, the way I had integrated into my work on the copperplate exactly what I’d observed in the proofing: on paper, I continued to square up my body, and my sheet on the table; to keep consistent pressure on my graphite; and to roll through my sheet as smoothly as possible.(2) 

So smooth had I become that the excellent alignment of these newest forms surprised me. Comparing them to my earlier ‘figures’ on view at the Tang Museum, (3) so charming with their exaggerated lean, I wondered at this difference of stance.

I soon recognised it to be – quite directly – a marking out of my change of stance: in Autumn 2005, in order to take my longer lines more gracefully through my sheet, I had opened up my posture at the table.(4) Since then, I stand with my right leg striding forward, and the left leg poised behind. Always upright and alert, I move more freely through the sheet, while drawing out these ever-straighter forms.

NOTE: There will, however, always be a lean to my figures. Guided only by natural forces, they cannot but follow “the path taken by the soul of [this] dancer.”(5)

(1) Between 21 and 28 June, 2007, I made 32 new dry-points in Copenhagen with Niels Borck-Jenser. The title of the suite is SLOW LEARNER and it is published by Jean-Yves Noblet Contemporary Prints, New York.

(2) See SLOW LEARNER, my text on this project.

(3) From 18 May to 12 August, my work featured in ‘Alumni Invitational 2’, Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. This selection of drawings included work made between 1993 and 2005.

(4) See studio jotting, ‘The New York Tour, Autumn 2005’.

(5) Heinrich von Kleist, ‘On the Marionette Theatre’ (1810), translated by Idris Parry, in Essays on Dolls (London: Syrens, 1994). Also see Linda Karshan and Marilyn McCully in McCully, Measure Without Measure, pp. 55–59

Transcribed notes from Copenhagen, on Slow Learner - 21–26 June 2007

Real control slowly, but surely appears on the 4th day of work. The line looks after itself, so I can move freely. With grace.

21/6/07 - (2 QUADS KEPT) 

Just moving the body through the plate. With attention. Locating the centre, or trying to.

22/6/07 - (4 IMAGES KEPT)

Watching the proofing, and learning from it.

I. Line up the plate

II. Steady pressure

III. Fluid movement over/through the plate

I tried to emulate these proofing principles, and then integrate them into my ‘method’. (I have a ‘method,’ but no plan!)


24/6/07 - (6 IMAGES KEPT)

So now I can move around my plate with a method, but no plan. 8 images (later edited to 6)

Fluid movement, gaining control of the process.

25/6/07 - (14 IMAGES KEPT)

8 + 6 images. Real control now. Slow Learner (for the first time in print, the 4-part vertical form, and 8-part NEW FORM).

26/6/07 - (6 IMAGES KEPT)

6 Winners. Good, steady line. Clean. On a clear day: 27–32 SLOW LEARNER.