of Presence and Absence …

Bryan is reaching the end of his residency.  There will be an event at Bank Street Arts to mark its completion this Thursday, 12th August, from 6pm.  I hope you can make it.  www.bankstreetarts.com

During his time at Bank Street, we’ve been talking about the nature of his work, the concept behind it.  It has raised ideas of originality, authenticity, cheating … the inherent contradictions that already exist in apparent binary oppositions, such as absence and presence, the absence of the Mona Lisa in the photograph he is recreating on the wall, pictured here, becoming a presence through this process of  replication, the ideas of origin and supplementation … These thoughts have been documented in a rough sort of way in a book we kept at the centre …

Bryan’s postcard project, the one with the Graves Art Gallery postcards, blown up to actual painting size and line drawn onto the walls at Bank Street will be complete with the production of more postcards, this time of his line drawings, taking them back down to their *original* size.  Bryan asked if’d like to produce the writing for the back of these.  In thinking about what to write, I also thought about Bryan’s concepts, and how they might transfer to writing, so that the text on the postcards made sense within the project.  I copied the descriptions of the paintings exhibited at Sheffield Museums; all but 3 of the 12 images were on display.  I then used these as frameworks, altering key words, so that they would fit as a description of the corresponding line drawings.  Some of the descriptions were ekphrastic, making it easy to alter with a minimum of disruption, paint, to ink, or permanent marker, colour to monochrome, for example.  Some of the descriptions were biographical, of the painter, and of the painting, or characters in the painting.  Here more creativity was needed, and the principles of the copy become more superficial.  For the three descriptions that were missing, I used some text from other descriptions, and then added what was appropriate in terms of describing the line drawing, trying to focus on the image the line drawing presented, how it was perceptibly altered from its source.  I then took these fragments and arranged them into one piece of writing because Bryan views his work of 12 drawings as one installation.  This can be seen in the book at Bank Street.  Here is an excerpt:

… This drawing shows the same female face in six similar poses, representing the passing of time.  Each figure is lost in the creases of its costume that symbolize a particular time of the day; morning, she is depicted touching her forehead with the barrel of a gun whilst in the evening her face pours like sand …

… This is not a portrait in the traditional sense.  It’s a view of a window frame.  The chair is lost in its own pattern and could be seen to stand in for either Gwen John or Bryan Eccleshall.  The table suggests the indoor world …

… This is not a portrait in the traditional sense.  It’s a view of faces without heads, bodies, limbs.  Dresses are shredded.  The background wall and furniture are incomplete, dissolved.  The miss on the right loses a single tear …

The fragments are separated out and printed on the back of the appropriate postcard.

Bryan is selling the postcards individually and as sets.  Come in on the 12th, have a look at the work, read the log we kept, buy a postcard or 12 …

The work will be painted over in one room, boarded over in the other … the work will be both present and absent at Bank Street.  Derrida would be proud …

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