This drawing project emerged after the novel coronavirus struck the earth with the power and impact of the meteor which, so long ago, ended the dinosaur age. While my words in this exposition attempt to sum up something about this lived reality, and about the artworks I found myself making in response, the drawings were not approached as a testimonial project: they merely gave visual form to fleeting, momentary impulses. And though they relate to some of my earlier projects in language-based abstraction, they were not planned as such. Instead, they emerged spontaneously and spurred me to learn. Initially, I simply became aware of the content and the undertone of my thoughts. Later, I was able to reflect on the mechanisms and poetics of transmission. The drawings therefore represent a specific kind of artistic research, in which studio production provides a methodology for re-searching, or searching again, for significance -- in this case, for theoretical possibilities derived from sensory experience.
This first drawing, in many ways, remains the most revealing and paradigmatic. Though in the pages to come I will describe how the project evolved and how my thinking about it motivated me to change its parameters, everything essential is signaled in this initial sketch, which was produced in the heat of agitation. While offering me solace, it also enabled me to analyze how an idea or meme might “go viral” or “catch on” as if it were infectious.
If a meteor ended the dinosaur age, what age did the virus end?
Will we indeed remember the
transition as a shift in epoch, or as
one of various social upheavals to be absorbed and deliberately defanged?
What kinds of language will we develop to name it, describe it, historicize it?
A block of text is like a blank page. When a paragraph is complete, and it is edited so that the last line is as long as any other line, the effect of fullness is similar to the page’s initial state of emptiness. The complete saturation of text creates an evenness of visual tone which is like blankness, a neutral foundation, a horizonless field of raw potentiality.