My drawings in pen and conte crayon continue to represent what I see, however much I want to abstract from them.
The person who blogs as Still Outside Authority is known for giving gnomic titles to WordPress posts: the latest landscape line drawings are headed “Under the Gibbet“. There is something of David Lynch in this linking portentous words to image.
Yesterday, OA and I walked the canals between Manchester Piccadilly Station and the artspace HOME. Here was my last sketch, coloured this morning in conte crayon and watercolour, having first been re-inked to obliterate the heavy black lines in the original on-site drawing. A cleverer artist would have left that expanse of water as white paper, with a minimum of lines to suggest ripples.
We had visited the exhibition My Head is Disconnected: visceral drawings and relief paintings by David Lynch (open just one more week). In these images, we meet recurring characters and a house motif. This is not a storyboard, rather each individual picture might stand for a whole film, the series connected by a single director. Each work encapsulates the totality of narrative and dialogue, characterisation, build-up and climax and resolution, tone and mood in unmoving shapes and cryptic utterances. We fill in the gaps (the missing 90 minutes of film) in our responding imaginations. That recurrent house icon is clearly, very much, not safe as houses. We see “light fire boy” and the caption beneath “meiah is a girl who he likes AA lot”; “Who is outside my house” which throws out a poignant thought about the dog; “Her shadow began to change“; “Bob’s antigravity factory” with the artists fingers clawing through the think earthbound paint; “A lonely figure talks to himself softly” standing in a storm, expressing the thought common to us all; and Bob’s meeting Mr Redman is not welcome at all.
The Rabbits, by David Lynch
He who posts as Cakeordeath, endlessly informative on all things surreal, introduced me to this short film by David Lynch. This, though, is not so much surreal as permeated with existential dread, the haunting soundtrack comprising undulating chords punctuated by a muted engine siren, like a muffled scream. Three people, expressionless in rabbit masks, make short gnomic statements that almost make sense. It plays out like an episode of Friends, with characters coming on set pausing until the applause dies away and recorded laughter sounding unexpectedly at irrelevant moments. We look down and in on the stage, so action plays out in a hutch, or a shoebox diorama. I watched it in fragments and when I finished it, I found myself scribbling furiously in conte crayon on a sheet of cardboard. I had been captivated by those two pools of light, from the table lamp to the right and the upright at the back. At first I saw the colours as a sick turquoise and dull brown. Only by drawing did I see the set is criss-crossed by shadows and varied hues, and standing out on the side table is a small lime green pot.
Who was on the phone?
It is still raining.
It has always been like that.
When did you go out?
I have known since I was seven.
It happens all the time.
There is no moon tonight.
I said it looks like it is still raining.
Where was it exactly, do you remember?
Is it that late?
And getting darker.
An old warm rug.
A dog crawls.
The dog crawls.
Lights blow out.