Angela Eames/paper 4

Home Link to research section Link to sales

Recent publications/papers etc.

PixelRaiders 2 - Sheffield Hallam University
Date: 08 April 2004 - Relating to (How does the digital workspace impact on practice?)

Title of Paper: What is new work that is inherently out of sight?
Key Words: drawing, object/space, figure/ground, real, technology


Treading an unfamiliar path - familiar territory for a drawer! By this, I mean the path, which each individual or group of individuals tread within their lifetime, deploying eye/hand/foot/brain in response to object-interference (life-forms, buildings, objects; still and moving). We interpret space, time, substance and sound. Constraints in perception are necessary, to operate within the environment since there are aspects of which we are not fully conscious. This is not to say that one remains unconscious of these aspects. They may well reveal themselves at moments when one is less conscious and more receptive. They might not be invisible, but they can remain hidden. Uncertainty is integral to the untrodden path. ‘The medium itself is no longer identifiable as such, and the merging of the medium and the message is the first great formula of this new age. There is no longer any medium in the literal sense: it is now intangible, diffuse and diffracted in the real, and it can no longer even be said that the latter is distorted by it,". Thus "we must think of the media as if they were, in outer orbit, a sort of genetic code which controls the mutation of the real into the hyperreal,". Meaning thus implodes - "this is where simulation begins," .... "The very definition of the real becomes: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction.... At the limit of this process of reproducibility, the real is not only what can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced. The hyperreal...................There is no underlying meaning, only an exploration of surfaces.’1 In the computing environment, the construction of virtual realities are based on the assemblage and placement of objects within a mathematical space. How unlike our real world - no air, pressure, density, resistance, vacuum, fog, cloud or rain. Drawers are aware of factors such as light, refraction, reflection, shadow, heat, cold, vapour, even the emotional stasis of the drawer. All are considered. I am interested in rethinking the position of the viewer and the viewed. What will it be like to see differently? We are all on the outside looking in - we can imagine the unseen but within the virtual environment can we see from the inside, out? This paper asks questions about the nature of new work when operating within the fast-moving technological working environment. As a drawer, I deliberate on these issues/concerns in the context of my visual practice.

What is new work that is inherently out of sight?

In 1998 I wrote in a paper delivered at the Drawing Across Boundaries Conference at Loughborough University:
I am proposing that the current resurgence in drawing, evidenced in terms of countrywide exhibitions, the increase in educational emphasis is largely due to advances in technology itself. I suggest, that were we not faced with a somewhat myopic regard for the visual arts and computing, there would not be the intuitive and renewed interest in drawing. Wherever there is a tendency for visual work to be predicated by the medium itself, there is a need to make appropriate visual decisions and to persist in working in terms of purpose rather than style. Were we able to think and move around the computing environment in a more intuitive manner (of course this may only be a question of time and familiarity), we might be able to question and more fruitfully engage in social, cultural, political and economic issues so dramatically affected by technology. I deliberate rather than criticise.’2

Figs 1 and 2, Opus and Upstream, graphite on paper, 48insx48ins

Early examples of work carried out during 1987; ‘Opus’, ‘Upstream’, ‘Inside/ outside’, ‘Outside/inside’, [Figs 1, 2, 3 and 4] demonstrate how in my case it was the very practice of drawing which signalled that I use a computer, although it was actually using computers which made me realise that the physical drawings incorporated manual equivalents of computing transformations; cut and paste, wrapping, scale and stretch. A peculiar curiosity engendered by my own mode of working, led me to ask myself, whether a computer might be able to extend what I was trying to do. I, as human computer could go so far, but the genuine article might allow me to go further. When I did manage to gain access to an Amiga some years later in 1989, there were no manuals or instruction but I had an aim; to see if the computer could produce layered ellipses (as evidenced in the drawings shown here).

Figs 3 and 4, Outside/inside, Inside/outside, graphite on paper, 60insx60ins

It could and as a bonus I found that in the breaking down of my mark-making skills - it was a gift! Having entered the technological domain I discovered that just as in the material world, there were programs, which when identified enabled appropriate modes of working, and there were those, which did not. Appropriateness of means and method remained as ever an issue. The identification of exactly which program to use - i.e. the application which might be most appropriate to the task in hand, is critical. When the user is initially unaware of the scope of a program such as Photoshop - how might they know whether to use it? Through the accumulated experience of working modes (as in the material world - a combination of personally and externally derived experience and particularly the exposure to examples of working practice), the user can make a decision. After all, it is usual for an artist or designer when confronted with work to ask the question, ‘how has that been done?’ My own practice is predicated on the fact that new technology can and perhaps should be used to discover that which has not yet been discovered and not used purely as a replicative tool. This is corroborated by my acknowledgement and acceptance of the exploratory nature of drawing. So I aim to make the technology work for me.

In 1990 whilst engaged on a residency in the USA, I worked on a series entitled Amalgams. In this series I was concerned with the superimposition of independent layers of observationally derived information as drawn mark. Composite images were built up. Works were made in pairs, layering from front to back and from back to front. Equivalent pairs were executed in the first instance, using familiar media - graphite on paper and in the second instance, the computing 2D environment. I.e. Two layered images were worked autographically through graphite on paper and a further two images were worked on screen using the layering implicit within the application.

Figs 5,6,7 and 8, Final Fusion, graphite on paper, digital print, on canvas 60insx60ins

(D Paint4). [Figs 5, 6, 7 and 8 show a particular set of four entitled Final Fusion. Each image measures 60” x 60”]. The low resolution digital images were enlarged and printed on rolls of paper so that they could be aligned and laminated onto canvas to produce images of a size equal to the graphite on paper images, which were also laminated onto canvas. I was interested to find out how the seemingly more mechanical approach (i.e. working with the computer) might compare with the manual (hand-drawn) approach. What would be revealed in either or both cases? The outcomes were surprising. I discovered or recognised my inherent capacity to operate as a machine when working with more familiar media, graphite on paper as opposed to working in a more intuitive manner in the lesser known territory of the computing environment. When working in the seemingly unsophisticated and clumsy world of dragging, scaling, superimposing and finally printing, I found that I worked more experimentally, my habitual and well-practised abilities being curtailed by my lack of experience. Habitual practice had been revealed to me as a constraint. I began to adopt strategic approaches to working practice in an attempt to eliminate the habitual. Implementation of strategic procedure can allow the hidden to be revealed.

Fig 9, Come on in the water's lovely, 45insx90ins each

By working strategically, human fallibility or reference can still be acknowledged whilst the risk of contamination and obfuscation is reduced. Strategies imposed by artists are continually scrutinised as to their effectiveness during the doing of work. Artists engage both rationality and intuition. Joseph Beuys described ‘intuition as nothing other than that, which we understand as thought, but it is a superior form of thinking, an enlarged consciousness in which one realises that man is free’.3 Unlike a craft tradition, where strategy controls the start and the finish of work, my own strategies inevitably break down as they are challenged and changed by a continuous probing into the what - the subject matter and the how - the investigatory means. Failure plays a significant part.

I have returned to these concerns in more recent works (carried out whilst completing my doctorate) where I was involved with the experientially comfortable and/or confrontational. Both artist and viewer experience the outcome of the works. My intention is that both are able to see that which has not been seen before. A comfortable encounter usually indicates the habitual approach and consequently a feeling that I have seen it before, whereas the confrontational encounter indicates a shift or change that is not immediately or easily accommodated and predicates something new (to me at least). Fig 9 shows a piece of work - titled: Come on in - the water’s lovely - four door panels - printed - each 90” high and 45” wide. In this work I am using the computer to do something, which it can do and I cannot. I can move around, with a virtual camera, within a virtual space, a room for example. I can observe, document, anticipate or even imagine and build. I can track the camera within this virtual environment devoid of atmosphere entirely or I might choose to immerse the virtual activity within an impossible scenario of conflicting atmospherics - maximum G forces, visibilities on a minus scale or serious flooding, simultaneously perhaps. I can record this visual information onto video and locate it in real space. In other words I can visually play in virtual space. In more recent work, I have been concerned with the notion of simulation and simulacrum through drawing rather than issues of representation.

‘According to Baudrillard, simulation is: .... the substitution of signs of the real for the real. In hyperreality, signs no longer represent or refer to an external model. They stand for nothing but themselves, and refer only to other signs. They are to some extent distinguishable, in the way the phonemes of language are, by a combinatory of minute binary distinctions. But postmodernism stutters. In the absence of any gravitational pull to ground them, images accelerate and tend to run together. They become interchangeable. Any term can be substituted for any other, utter indetermination. Faced with this homogeneous surface of syntagmatic slippage, we are left speechless. We can only gape in fascination.... Meaning is out of reach and out of sight, but not because it has receded into the distance. It is because the code has been miniaturized. Objects are images, images are signs, signs are information, and information fits on a chip. Everything reduces to a molecular binarism. The generalized digitality of the computerized society. And so we gape.’4

In general I would say that this body of work consists of drawings in time, space, sound or silence, which have a single factor in common. They are an engagement through drawing within the two or three dimensional computing environment. The final images which might be viewed on video or as printout have not existed at any time and do not now exist in reality. They are simulacra or copies of things that have no original. They are assemblages derived from an experience of objects/spaces/places as opposed to being representational renditions of human observation. Through the drawings I explore and present visual outcomes of stratagems carried out within the complex and arguably infinite computing environment. I am extending the concept of drawing as visual conjecture toward unseen possibilities - drawing as imagination, probing and confrontation rather than entertainment (in the broadest sense of the word), progression and improvement. I reiterate, ‘wherever there is a tendency for visual decisions and evidence to be predicated by medium or habit, there is a need to persist in engagement in terms of purpose rather than style’.5

Figs 10 and 11, Jumper and Gaudi's string and sandbag drawing

So, what is new work that is inherently out of sight? Perhaps there are preliminary questions which need to be asked. It might be more constructive to ask where as opposed to what is drawing now? Where, suggests that one might be able through looking, to find drawing when work is not immediately branded or characterised as something else. Perhaps then it is the role of critics and historians is to ascribe the what, whereas it might be more apposite for the artist or drawer to detect the where. Figs 10 and 11, show a jumper and a photograph of the working drawing of Antoni Gaudi for Guell Colony Church. The jumper might be described as a drawing - a drawing through space - a linear thread winding its way through three-dimensional space. Gaudi experimented with three dimensional, structural possibilities when exploring the possibilities for vaulting the ceiling of Guell Colony Church. In devising an upside-down model of sorts, he effectively shifted his drawing activity from the drawing board into three-dimensional space. Drawing and forming were integrated. Drawing as visual thought is demonstrated by Gaudi as a critical activity, accommodating the coupling of intuitive and accidental behaviour with a rational and planned approach which is intrinsic to innovation. How else might we recognise potentials beyond our individual and necessarily limited habitual experience.

How might I attempt to define drawing? Many artists and designers will say that in order to be able to see one must draw, or that the doing of drawing enables seeing. Feeling, thinking, doing and seeing (what has been done as well as what is being done) are intrinsic and central to drawing. If one were to take a metre ruler, calibrated from 0 to 100 centimetres, 99.9 centimetres of that ruler could be considered as drawing and the remaining 0.1 centimetre as the moment when what has been done or the work, becomes finite. Drawing is the means of thinking visually, the to'ing and fro'ing of forming - the means through which one thinks, makes, breaks and then thinks and makes again until the end of that ruler is reached. It is the beginning of work and might sometimes be realised as the end or as a work in itself. As such it is as critical to the future as it has been in the past. Asked to define drawing (and I’m not sure that drawing has been defined to date) I would have to decline. Not simply avoidance but rather in consideration of the non-specificity prevalent within the activity itself. I feel, as a drawer more able to respond to that question - where rather than what is drawing now? The what seems to relate to the summation of a finite activity. I feel more able to comment upon what drawing is not but even that presents a minefield of oppositional possibilities - so to be more/less specific/non specific;

Drawing is touch, trace, probing, failure, continuity, change, exploration, realisation, discourse, irrational, evidence, assimilation, cognition, contentious, encounter, recording, intention, experiential, indeterminate, logical, rigorous, focus, actuality. Although it might not be!

Drawing is not technique, facility, competence, representation, mark-making, language, aesthetics, depiction, doodle, discreet, gesture, habit, imitation, mechanical, monocular, original, inspired, predicated, sentimental, skill, static, style, artificial. Although it might be!
Drawing is not on paper although it might be.

How would I describe my own practice? When asked that incessant question - ‘What do you do?’ - I reply - ‘I am a drawer’. There were times when I had great difficulty in responding, feeling as I did that I did not belong to a prescribed practice - painter, sculptor, printmaker, film maker, even fine artist. When working with stuff in the material world I was involved with trying to realise that which I did not know, see that which I had not seen. Nothing has changed in the intermittent years; I am still travelling along the same path. I acknowledge the digital as commonplace but if I construct a wireframe within a program like 3D Studio Max, what exactly am I doing? I believe that I am drawing. I know that I am not painting, sculpting, printmaking, filming - perhaps I’m not even making - but I am drawing. The experience and knowledge derived from previous practical pursuits in the material world serve to inform my thinking and working procedures (quite often constraining them) but those decisions regarding what to do and what to do next are governed primarily by my experience as a drawer. My projections or conjectures with regard to the intangible stem from an awareness of the tangible and those of the invisible from an awareness of the visible and vice versa. Awareness of the working realm - materials, properties, constraints, procedures etc., locates and informs my visual practice and can aid the initiation of ideas and the direction of work. Visual work is a result of a precarious but essential balancing act between knowing and not knowing. Uccello (although it is now believed that this work should be attributed to Piero Della Francesca), in his drawing - Chalice [Fig 12], was pre-empting wireframe drawing - he was making a huge leap across centuries. In my updated version [Fig 13] a wireframe drawing, modelled in 3D Studio, I am revisiting the concerns of these artists whilst simultaneously referencing the early days of computing as green line on black screen.

Roger Hilton stated ‘I am arguing in the last resort, in favour of the sinking of technique to a level of consciousness where it can confront man, for art as revealed truth, not as significant form, and technique as the instrument of its exposition.’6 I am concerned here with visual thought being drawing which might be manifested through reflection, deliberation and speculation in any number of visual outcomes, including electronic.

Figs 12 and 13, Chalice Uccello/Piero and Homage Lightbox work, 22insx33ins

The electronic realm is not the apex of human achievement, simply another rung on the ladder of human curiosity and invention. A rung which might allow us to engage with other aspects of space and time. The computer allows different views of our world and new experiences. It is the continuance of an experiential and experimental approach to work, one which acknowledges risk and failure, and subjugates technique, in an attempt to become conscious of the potential of machines, ourselves and beyond, which is crucial.7

Nearly twenty years ago in a television programme about good design, Ron Arad stated ‘technology enables us to do practically everything but although there is an amazing amount of progress in technology, there is very little progress in design’, Bill Moggeridge stated ‘we don’t need to think about the voice going down the dog-bone, we need to think about speaking to our mum’, and Alberto Alessi stated ‘mass production cannot accept risk. Producers have to work strictly on a rule system. Good design always likes to break rules. Transgression is important in good design - technical transgression, marketing transgression, or even aesthetic transgression.’8 In 1989 Joseph Beuys stated in conversation with Stig Brogger and Erik Thygesen, ‘When artists make use of modern technology, art often becomes subordinate to the technology.’9 Statements which bear testimony to some less regarded aspects of visual practice when considering technology as probing and exploration. But how for example does one or even can one transgress within the computing environment? Both artists and designers might have to move around the computing environment in a more intuitive or less peremptory manner, questioning, probing and initiating responses as opposed to the learning of technical skills.

Figs 14,15,16, and 17, Vestige #7 and #8 (+details), digital print on plastic, 32insx42ins

Too much gloss - too much fine-tuning - too much surface - too much superficial sheen - too much polish. Not enough blemish - not enough imperfection - not enough foible - not enough fallibility - not enough spit. Masses of potential - loads of opportunities - plentiful solutions - permutations galore but not enough risk……..….. and not enough spit. The spit I refer to has something to do with immediacy and uncertainty, spit which embeds itself somehow during the doing of drawing and is revealed through the act of drawing and in the drawing. It has something to do with residue or evidence left behind during this process - something to do with mess. Computing applications (and often those operating them) seldom accommodate residue, slippage, spillage, accident, smudge, or the bits one might expect to have to deal with, possibly to exclude when working with other media, those bits one has not yet noticed, but might with further consideration acknowledge as integral to the drawing or doing. This is what I’m after. In my drawing practice I might be preoccupied with flesh, fur, floral, autographic mark, rendered mark as subject matter. In the fleshscape images shown here [Figs 14 and 15 - full images, Figs 16 and 17 - details] I am using recorded photographic evidence of human form, close-up photographs of parts of the body, images that are unrecognisable to the uninquisitive eye. They are extensions of my physically orientated visual thoughts and notions. They involve using the body - photographing the body - layering the body - fusing bodies - splicing bodies - revealing new bodies - strange bodies - impossible bodies - foreign bodies. In submitting to the strictures of the digital environment - by allowing the pixilated grid to play a fundamental role within the work via the various constructed meshes, visual anomalies reveal themselves. Spit perhaps…… The melding and merging of individual layers offers surprising results through the embedding of similar but different areas of colouration and identity. The work is a result of a precarious but essential balancing act between knowing and not knowing. I try to explore possibilities particular and peculiar to drawing within the digital realm as opposed to the imitation of manual technologies - exploration as opposed to replication. I am searching for digital spit. I hope then to maintain those spit levels, to cultivate more spit and not to get lost in the shine.

Drawing is a form of visual conjecture that takes place prior to, during and after the activity of doing, whether the activity involves graphite sticks or computers. When artists and designers embark on new work the reasons for doing so are various. Work in the main stems from previous work, often dissatisfaction with a piece, or the idea that it might be done differently. The stimuli for new work may come from other sources; everyday reflection, the want to find out what is there, the need to explore possibilities, the desire for play, even a need to dispel boredom. Those working in the design world might have commissions thrust upon them with the added constraints of time and economics. Although formally outcomes may appear visually different, the approach to work is consistent. Both artists and designers have something to do. This having something to do is usually followed by possible ideas as to how to do it and in turn the how to do it is governed by a sense of appropriateness which depends on what is being done. Within this working process of chance, accident, strategy, formulation and the inevitable spanner of personal idiosyncrasy sit side by side. The activity drawing enables focus upon any number of visual issues. High focus thinking relates to the logical and analytical whilst low focus thinking presents the opposite end of the spectrum, loss of control, creative fancy and an ability to be receptive to the unexpected or fantastic. The state of mind required when engaging with drawing involves high and/or low focus thinking. Every human mind is a spectrum; every human mind possesses a broad continuous range of different ways in which to think. The way in which a person happens to be thinking at any given moment depends on a characteristic David Gelernter calls mental focus.

Figs 18 and 19, foliage_goblet and funghal_mug, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

‘Focus can be high or low or medium; it changes throughout the day, not because the thinker continually changes it, as he might consciously raise his arm, but in subliminal response to his physiological state as a whole .... from the intense violet of logical analysis all the way downward into the soft slow red of sleep.’10
Drawing requires an approach that is alert, organised and rational in the preparatory sense, an ability to survey the immediate time, space and interruptions and a continual open-mindedness to the particular circumstances. How can we recognise that which has not yet been seen? Exposure to different ways of seeing, or seeing differently, requires risk-taking. As the technology train hurtles on unabated, providing ever faster, ever cheaper and ever easier means of solving problems and producing visual imagery, artists and designers face the very real problem of whether to simply keep up with it or to put themselves in the driving seat. Does form follow function or form follow program? Creative people have no desire to strap themselves to the front of the technology train. They may wish to slow down, get off or at times to travel even faster but they would insist on having the choice of direction - somewhere or even nowhere. Constraints are inevitable and challenging but acceptance of the computer simply as a more convenient tool encourages the notion that one makes work facilitated by technique alone. Artists have never had problems using, adapting or sometimes even inventing tools as and when the need occurs. The electronic realm is just another step along the path of curiosity and invention and whilst travelling along this path we hopefully integrate our low and high focus thinking.

‘A low-focus train of thought obeys rules just as faithfully as the familiar high-focus version, but they are different rules; rules under which one thought is linked by shared emotional content and not by logic to the next. In structure, a high-fous thought-train is logical (at least informally) and runs in a certain direction, from premises to conclusions. A low-focus thought-train is not logical and tolerates contradictions (has no concept of contradiction) - and it is just as coherent backwards as forwards. It has no direction; no premises, no goals, no conclusions.’11

Figs 20 and 21, tartan_dogbowl #1and tartan_dogbowl #2, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

The computer allows us another view of our world and new experiences but it is an experiential and experimental approach to work, an acceptance of the necessity of risk and failure and the subjugation of technique, which will allow those steps to go somewhere. When questioning, searching within, or commenting upon the nature of the environment through whatever means, we are engaging in the actual and the real and the outcomes are in fact actual and real. The making of a drawing using physical substance, whether that is graphite and paper or sandbags and string, results in an actuality - a drawing. When working within the electronic realm, the absence of substance does not mean that the results are not real. Visual thought remains a critical factor in the implementation of work. In its capacity to make the invisible, visible, and for three-dimensional simulation, the computer allows for a re-spatialisation of the visual world. This can occur on an individual level, i.e. the relationship between artist or spectator and artwork (whatever form that takes, static, moving, multi-perspectival, or even simulated) or on a collective level, i.e. interactive multimedia or the broadcasting of imagery. The computing environment can augment our ability to perceive the visual world.

New works [Figs 18 - 31] are carried out using 3D Studio Max as the construction (drawing) site and then transfer of rendered files to Photoshop as the print preparation vehicle. I have used essentially symmetrical objects as reference material and had the intention to explore the drawing of these objects in a figure/ground relationship. As in the realm of painting and the two dimensional where a single figure/object might be placed in relation to a ground/plane but in this case the object is drawn/built as wireframe and located and juxtaposed in three dimensional space. A collision or correlation might be indicated through the positioning of a plane in relation to the object.

Figs 22 and 23, ink_shaker #1and ink_shaker #2, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

The plane might slice through the object, it might be tilted through space, it might just emulate the picture plane whilst the object is tilted in space. I consider the wireframes to be drawing having their own visual syntax. In addition the figure/ground might be marked/mapped/rendered as material - fabric/pattern/ drawn mark etc. These maps are derived from scanning hand-drawn mark or photographic samples/scans of flesh or fabric or fur or whatever I feel to be appropriate to the virtual object in virtual space - a further visual syntax and further collision or correlation. Ironically, working within the constraints of virtual space has encouraged me to make decisions (particularly where scale of mapping becomes an issue) which I can only really describe as related to the aesthetic, heralding a deviation from a previous and obsessively strategic approach to working.

Figs 22 and 23 show two works where an object (a flour shaker) has been sliced by a planar object. Two viewpoints are derived - back and front and further emphasised by means of the specific location and the choice of lighting placed within the three dimensional environment. In this case one side of the slicing plane is lighter than the other. We see two viewpoints (if viewing these particular works in proximity) that we do not see in the physical world. The drawn mark (un-directional/random but uniform, ink on paper) maps the virtual surface but makes no deference to contour or to demonstration of either the curved or planar nature of the surfaces. In the transition from digital image through to printed image on canvas (in this case - in other works the substrate may differ according to the imagery that has evolved) the physical world stamps its own reality onto the works. Scale becomes all important as a translated through viewing distance. Close-up, one is not at all sure how these marks have been made - they possess a kind of neutrality, one that is neither human nor digitally generated. From a distance the object comes literally into focus and organised space is sensed by the viewer, although s/he might not be sure of what exactly is being viewed. There is a kind of familiarity but this is offset by the newness of the mark/s. In these particular works the original mark-making - ink on paper has now become printed ink on canvas transformed through directional mapping, stretch or shrinkage, tiling and the interference of light.

Figs 24 and 25, biro_torch and tartan_torch, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

In Figs 24 and 25 the object (a torch) and its accompanying plane are mapped with graphite mark and tartan fabric respectively. The tartan begins to demonstrate the particular placement of the plane in relation to the torch via its inherent grid-like properties. Light is placed in an obviously representational manner - i.e. emanating from the bulb within the body of the torch. I am visually playing with the notion of mapping/skinning/surfacing the virtual objects and alluding to the physical character of such an object in the physical world. This has more to do with possibility and probability than representation. I am interested in the fact that expectancy embedded within the construction process (a distinct property of working with three dimensional solid modelling) does not always yield expected results. This is particularly evident when the maps are derived through previous hand-drawn mark, although I am not sure why this is the case. Unlike the animator working within special effects for example, who constructs an object/animal/figure according to representational indicators. S/he models within computing space according to a pre-prepared model/design whereas I am selecting a particular model/object and subjecting that model to climatic and explanatory change. I adopt the principal properties of that model/object and subject them to shift and sometimes to slight or extreme change. Can one work with uncertainty within the computing environment?

Figs 26,27,28 and 29, making_it_up_charcoal, making_it_up_graphite, making_it_up_ink, making_it_up_biro, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

The evolution of the computing environment owes much to artists who have insistently probed space. Deception is possible because seeing is believing. If one perceives the world by virtue of corporeal dependency, then perhaps one is incapable of perceiving the totality. Deception might be the norm. Breaking through the barrier of deception which human beings intuitively construct for themselves is at the heart of drawing practice; seeing that which might be obscured in everyday, conditioned perception. As I have previously stated uncertainty is a paramount condition of drawing. Drawing a two-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface from a three-dimensional reality demands an experiential acknowledgement of both. One is not making a copy or an illusion of three dimensions in two dimensions. Similarly the activity of drawing within the computer does not have to be seen as making an illusion of three dimensions. The computer offers a peculiarly non-material association of mark in the equality of presence and the quality of mark through pixels. Traditional drawing is a physical act whereas drawing on or perhaps into a computer screen could be described as physical but different. Both activities are nonetheless real.

Figs 30 and 31, nautilus #1and nautilus #2, ink on canvas, 62insx62ins

More questions..........what then can drawing contribute? Is drawing an essential component of working within modern technologies? Drawing promotes individual thought, action and critically, reflection upon that action. Drawing endorses the right to fail. Drawing acknowledges totality - both sum and part. Drawing advocates an appropriateness of pursuit in relation to forming be that physical or virtual. Drawing sanctions choice whether inclusive selection or exclusive semblance. Visual practitioners in their awareness of both previous and contemporary visual practice are both critical historians and critical observers whereby their personal critiques recognise what has happened, what is happening and what might happen. They aim to develop ways of thinking and working. They aim to offer alternative ways of functioning, which will meet the challenges of future visual practice and by implication, a broader spectrum of thought and action. Artists advocate a spirit of adventure and have an aim to make technologies work for them. In doing so, they raise and reflect upon issues pertinent to all areas of visual practice, technological development and visual conjecture. In the words of Joseph Beuys, ‘Artists should be seen more like philosophers and not the designers of washers and dryers. Its a process and a long one,............ Art is not a job, its a productive reflection on the world,.........I think from the artist’s point of view, the work is really the relations between works and then the relation of that process to the world.’12

Whether a basic understanding and comprehension of operating systems and the mechanics of equipment are required on the part of the user is a matter for another debate but traditionally artists, makers and designers have demonstrated an innate and comprehensive understanding of materials, methods and not least their tools. Visual thought has led us to the electronic realm, which continues to discharge us with responsibility and solicit our attention. Drawing as a means of eliciting visual thought provides an essential means of prodding and probing, doing and undoing, glimpsing and finally, maybe, seeing reality/virtuality or reaching the end of that aforementioned ruler.

The unexpected, the surprising and the seemingly impossible can be revealed through drawing via familiar or less familiar means. The placing and erasing or embedding and changing of marks or moments of actuality gives form to new visual possibilities, allowing the imagination to project beyond two, three and four dimensions.13

1 Baudrillard J. Simulations, trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, Philip Beitchman (New York: Semiotext(e), 1983, p. 11.
2 Eames A. From Drawing to Computing and Back Again, Paper delivered at the Drawing Across Boundaries Conference at Loughborough University, 1998.
3 Wijers L. From a Competive to a Compassionate Society, quoting Joseph Beuys in interview, Art meets Science and Spirituality, Art & Design, Edited by Andreas C Papadikis, Academy Group Ltd.,1990. p. 7.
4 Massumi B. REALER THAN REAL The Simulacrum According to Deleuze and Guattari,
5 Ibid Eames A.
6 Hilton R, Night Letters and Selected Drawings, Newlyn Orion Galleries Ltd., p. 2.
7 Ibid Eames A.
8 BBC television programme. Good Design. 1984
9 Kosuth J. Joseph Kosuth Interviews, Art as Idea as Idea, interview with Stig Brogger and Erik Thygesen, Edition Patricia Schwarz, Stuttgart, 1989, p. 32
10 Gelernter D. The Muse in the Machine - Computers and Creative Thought. Free Press, Macmillan Inc. 1994. p. 6 and p. 14.
11 Ibid p. 32
12 J. Joseph Kosuth Interviews, Kosuth - interview with Thomas Beller and Margaret Sundell, Edition Patricia Schwarz, Stuttgart, 1989, p. 130
13 Ibid Eames A.

Figs 1 and 2 (Angela Eames - Opus and Upstream - graphite on paper - 48”x 48”)
Figs 3 and 4 (Angela Eames - Outside/inside and Inside/outside - graphite on paper - 60”x 60”)
Figs 5 and 6 (Angela Eames - Amalgam series - Final Fusion - graphite on paper on canvas - 60”x 60”)
Figs 7 and 8 (Angela Eames - Amalgam series - Final Fusion - inkjet print on paper on canvas - 60”x 60”)
Fig 9 (Angela Eames - Come on in - the water’;s lovely! - 4 independent images - inkjet print laminated on rigid plastic - each 90”x 45”)
Figs 10 and 11 (Woollen knitted jumper and Antoni Gaudi’s upside down string/sandbag drawing for construction of Guell vaulted ceiling)
Figs 12 and 13 (Uccello/Piero Della Francesca - chalice drawing and Angela Eames - contemporary 3D solid modelled version)
Figs 14 and 15 (Angela Eames - Fleshscapes - ink on paper and laminated onto rigid plastic - 32”x 28”)
Figs 16 and 17 (Angela Eames - Fleshscapes - details - actual size - of the above respectively)
Figs 18 and 19 (Angela Eames - One-offs - goblet and cup - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)
Figs 20 and 21 (Angela Eames - One-offs - dogbowl - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)
Figs 22 and 23 (Angela Eames - One-offs - flour shaker - ink on canvas on stretchers - 60”x 60”)
Figs 24 and 25 (Angela Eames - One-offs - torches - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)
Figs 26 and 27 (Angela Eames - One-offs - bottled drawing - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)
Figs 28 and 29 (Angela Eames - One-offs - bottled drawing - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)
Figs 30 and 31 (Angela Eames - One-offs - nautilus - ink on canvas on stretchers - 62”x 62”)

Figs 1 and 2

Figs 1 and 2, Opus and Upstream
graphite on paper, each 48insx48ins

Figs 3 and 4

Figs 3 and 4, Outside/inside, Inside/outside
graphite on paper, each 60insx60ins

Figs 5,6,7 and 8

Figs 5,6,7 and 8, Final Fusion
graphite on paper, digital print
on canvas, each 60insx60ins

Fig 9

Fig 9, Come on in the water's lovely
each 45insx90ins

Figs 10 and 11

Figs 10 and 11, Jumper and Gaudi
string and sandbag drawing

Figs 12 and 13

Figs 12 and 13, Chalice Uccello/Piero and Homage
Lightbox work, 22insx33ins (right)

Figs 14,15,16, and 17

Figs 14,15,16, and 17, top: Vestige#7 and Vestige#8
(+details below), digital print on plastic, each 32insx42ins

Figs 18 and 19

Figs 18 and 19, foliage_goblet and funghal_mug
ink on canvas, each 62insx62ins

Figs 20 and 21

Figs 20 and 21, tartan_dogbowl #1and tartan_dogbowl #2
ink on canvas, each 62insx62ins

Figs 22 and 23

Figs 22 and 23, ink_shaker #1and ink_shaker #2
ink on canvas, each 62insx62ins

Figs 24 and 25

Figs 24 and 25, biro_torch and tartan_torch
ink on canvas, each 62insx62ins

Figs 26,27,28 and 29

Figs 26,27,28 and 29, making_it_up_charcoal
making_it_up_biro, ink on canvas
each 62insx62ins

Figs 30 and 31

Figs 30 and 31, nautilus #1and nautilus #2
ink on canvas, each 62insx62ins

Useful Links Back Send email