Wednesday, September 02, 2009
I want to draw in ink again.A few years ago, I used gel pens and simple, pared down outlines on white archival board to create the first studies of my 2004 enamel series, Self vs Self. I chose gel pens because of the uneven mix of colour particles suspended in the sticky fluid. I traced over the top of them with a glitter pen. The tiny, silvery fragments were barely noticeable but they reflected and enhanced the colour variations. Recently, I came across a beautiful, traditional, US-manufactured ink with brighter but subtler variations of colour than the gel pens. The magenta is a rich purple that transforms itself into crimson then bright pink at the crisp edge of a line. There's also a rich, venous red, the same colour as my blood; it dries as dark as coagulated trace evidence.The colour shifts in the inks replicate what I've been trying to achieve with watercolours, except that ink is more precise, even when I draw fast and messy. I bought some old fashioned dip pens so I can splatter the ink a little and experiment with different nib shapes and thicknesses.I'll exhibit some ink on paper works as well as watercolours for my planned exhibition in Toronto. I want the drawings to be stark, uncluttered but sensuous depictions of arcane rites and sexual practices.Artists returning to simpler, more traditional media is something of a trend right now. Damien Hirst eschewed assistants to go all brooding, neo-Expressionist in paintings he unveiled earlier this year in Moscow. Brit Art's It Girl, Tracey Emin – who vies for the title with Jay Jopling's ex-missus, Sam Taylor-Wood – recently exhibited pen and ink drawings. They're execrable: scratchy, laboured linework barely concealing a wobbly hand, with figures flattened so clumsily they resembled road-kill, all life (and sex) squashed out of them. The medium deserves better.