I began this series of drawings sometime back in 2015, where five drawings were made into paintings for a group show. Before it started, I came across the phrase, a slice of life. It reminded me of a keen observation of the everyday, often ephemeral and mundane, which contains a sense of modest beauty. As an attempt to capture the feeling it represents, I started with drawings of things you could describe as ordinary, that narrowed down to a focus on interior life, and eventually, people.
Yes, because innately, I think it was a sensibility I personally identify with. Of course, with time there is an increased exposure to more things and that allowed me to think about the drawings more deeply; thus developing a framework for the drawings. That said, I start to see this people—individual figures, as a kind of pictorial alphabets. Like alphabets, they allow for various compositions, when combined, they form words—which have meanings. That became a part of the intent of the work. Also, it went on for a few years because at each point where there’s a pause, it didn’t quite feel like a full stop yet.
It perhaps reflected an undercurrent of the condition of a contemporary person. I’ve always felt an atmosphere of loneliness in cities. A more conscious reason being, it allowed me to draw focus on the formal aesthetic qualities of the figures, which are the shape of these drawings. This was also a time I started looking at modern abstract painters of America from the 50s, in particular, Ellsworth Kelly. Who made paintings based on chance determined abstractions which had a very strong quality of form to it.
Beyond capturing a feeling, being focused on a single subject matter made the act of drawing in my way, an act of looking, collecting, documenting and translating these images which are either found or chanced. This calls to an attentiveness to the subtlety and nuances of observation. In a sense I wasn’t exactly inventing new images but really aiding my memory remember these impressions.
Yes. The thought was sparked as I was watching a film Floating Weeds (1959) by Yasujiro Ozu. There was a scene of a frontal shot of a group of family relaxing in the summer heat. I was intrigued by the narrative potential of that still as an image even when it is viewed out of context.
The extended time taken to finish up with work actually allowed me to discover parallels that provided me a sense of support in what I’m pursuing. In the process of working on the drawings, I’ve questioned the relevance and significance of the drawings. Which lead me to think they are essentially a form of recording. This duration also facilitated a kind of necessary digestion.
Drawing reveals certain human touches, you can see things like, duration, strength and speed. The medium expresses a naturalness, which in itself has imperfections.