above: Wiggins, 2015, (detail) ink and graphite on paper
I hung my drawings and photographs for a weekend exhibition of “work in progress” a few weeks ago and invited people into my studio to see the work and hear about my process with Nasreen Mohamedi as my guide. I hung the 30” x 40” drawings I had worked on in my studio for the last several months and the 24” x 36” photographs from Delhi quasi – salon style and all unframed. I was trying to show that the photographs of Mughal architecture and monuments in Delhi inspired the drawings and I was referencing them in various ways in the drawings. The drawings are abstract and drawn in ink and gouache and graphite. The photographs are mostly very spacial and geometric – the black and white photos and muted tones of the color photos make them somewhat abstract. My photographs are not as abstract as Nasreen’s photos. Nasreen never showed her photographs she only exhibited her drawings. My drawings are “Sherry style abstract,” even though I was getting cues from the architecture and from Nasreen. I think the drawings also reference my installation and sculpture work as well as well as my other drawings – but they are also a leap forward for me into new territory on paper. I feel very good about the exhibit and my friends and family have given me great feedback on the drawings as well as the photographs.
After the weekend exhibition my dear friend Cydney Payton, who is also an independent curator, came to town to visit and she rehung the whole exhibit. We took all the photographs down and gave the drawings the entire space. We put one small photo of Sanskriti on the south wall. It was a little difficult for me since the big digital prints that Ron Landucci of Infinite Editions made for me are quite beautiful – but the drawings really work with lots of space around them. Here are some great installation shots of the drawings by themselves that my friend photographer Robert Kittila just took.
Here are a few installation shots I took with the 30” x 40” drawings and the 24” x 36” photographs hung together salon style.
So what did I learn with Nasreen and without her in these last few months in the studio with my drawing practice? What about the photographs? What did I learn from hanging and rehanging the work?
- I learned that I love to draw space in this abstract manner
- I learned something about my need for scale – these drawings have a physical presence and relationship to my body and to the viewer’s body, they are quite a big bigger than most of Nasreen’s drawings
- this drawing practice is hard and rigorous work, requiring concentration and presence – meditation and North Indian classical music helped focus my attention
- I need a lot of time to accomplish them
- I want to keep making them, I have many more photographs from India that I want to work from
- I like to use color and pigment in an elemental way that has some similarity to Nasreen, but she really went to pure black, white and greys in pen and graphite – I am using some brilliant pigment as well as muted washes
- I really love the opacity of the gouache, the transparency and translucence of the India inks and the presence and power of the graphite
- I should try printing the photos the same size as the drawings
- I should keep going with the photographic practice and perhaps if I had a much bigger space to hang all the work there might be another way of showing the photographs
- I benefit from the help of Cydney Payton who is a great curator – she helps me “see” my work differently
- I was told by Dr. Dana Wiggins Logan that I am a “orientalist” – I agree but I need to think about this more
- showing my work in the studio is a nice intimate way to look at the work with people
If you would like to see the work in the studio let me know. In mid August I am going to “put this work away” for a few months while I start to prepare for my next project with Portuguese artist Helena Almeida as my guide.
However, I just found out some BIG NEWS about Nasreen Mohamedi. The largest exhibit to date of Nasreen Mohamedi’s work, curated by Roobina Karode of the Kiran Nadar Museum in Delhi, will be opening at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid opening September 22nd 2015. I will be in Portugal at that time and I will go see it in Madrid even though it is also coming to the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2016 and then many of you U.S. people can see Mohamedi’s remarkable work too! http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en/exhibitions/nasreen-mohamedi
I will be posting my research before going to Portugal and posting while working at the Obras Foundation http://www.obras-art.org/obras-portugal.html in Portugal in September and October. If you would like to “follow” my blog go to the bottom right corner of the blog and click “follow” they will ask you for your email address and then you will be notified by email when I post. You can read past blog posts by going to the three bars at the top of the page and pressing the “archive” bar. I will continue to send out a link by email when I post as well. I have posted below the drawings and their “source” photographic images.