July 22, 2009

Letters & Drawings XX: Best Ever, and the Unsuccessful?

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I'm trying to evolve, and it's not coming easy. I've drawn a lot this week, and have not been pleased with most of the work.

These are 3 of the better ones.

This one with the guy covering his face is maybe my favourite of my own drawings, ever. Though obviously it's not that far from what I've done before. I'm calling it Damascus, because I don't think it was quite earnest enough yet.

I don't know what to think of the colourful one. I think I hate it, but I dunno.

The "cover it in hands" one is just same old same old. No growth there. Not really. But I like it.

I'd love feedback, especially critical feedback, because I really don't know what's working and what isn't.

I'm working on putting together a book of my drawings, and a friend of mine has suggested applying to a gallery to host a show for a couple days or something in the spring (which, he tells me, is easier than you might think in Montreal).

Also, please visit this site and read what Forrest has to say about, um... just read it.


Boyda said...

Ok, um, shall I start?

Matthew, well, I greatly admire your art. I hated your maggot piece from a couple posts ago, which I think means it was a success.

I don't think "same old" should be a criticism. I appreciate that there are reoccurring themes in your art which signify ongoing struggles and unifying principles - this is something I struggle with in my own art, when I find myself wanting to draw too many things and can't even imagine compiling such a thing as a "collection." You manage to integrate skillful delivery with creative and abstract innovation, a true achievement. Also, still thinking about Forrest's now-infamous review, I appreciate that your drawings are not products of the wholly internal, but that I can look at them as an observer and still derive meaning.

At the same time, I appreciate your desire to grow, and I know what it's like to not know if something "works" or not.

I think the image of the two faces chained together with the single, dangling key is one of your most effective. It communicates a simple, poignant narrative, not one for which you necessarily have to search. I think the art that best speaks to me is 'anxiously minimalistic' - say, like trying to restrain the ecstatic urge to scribble as much as possible within as little a space. Trying to harness the artistic spirit into something readable and true. Those pieces are what I enjoy the most. And, well, I inwardly rejoice when I encounter those on your blog.

Leif said...

I really like Damascus as well. These are my favorites:









I don't have lofty reasons for enjoying them. They simply appeal to me. That, and the more intricate ones are fun to explore.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

You like the simple ones.
"Anxiously Minimalistic." Because I'm feeling directionless and unsatisfied, I think I'll try veering back to the simpler.

I'm still reading and re-reading your post. Thanks so much for giving me so much to chew on.

The list of drawings you like is going to be REALLY helpful.

I'm glad you like exploring the "intricate" ones.

I think that's what I'll try: pushing myself to be simpler in some drawings -what Boyda is talking about with the anxious minimalism; and to do more extremely intricate pieces.

This has been really useful already.

But please, everyone, feel free to be very critical.

Anonymous said...

I really like the positioning and perspective of the hands in "Damascus". The extension of the upper fingers is fantastic, and spindly. It is like they are both reaching and holding something at bay, not quite sure what the universe is about to impose (i.e. a gift or a burden?). The sense of unsurity is good.

The colour photo is something that I am not quite sure of. I like the combination of white and colour, sort of like an inverse black hole of pop culture. The shapes are a bit difficult for me to swallow, with the points. I don't know why. It is interesting.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Thanks for the response. "An inverse black hole of pop culture." Ha. Umm, the white spot was the initial inspiration for the drawing, but I think everything else is a meaningless distraction.