Interview with Daphne Gerou

Line Gallery: Why do you think you came to focus on drawing as opposed to another medium?

Daphne Gerou:
To be honest I started out painting. First with oils, then later on I gravitated towards water media, using a combination of inks and acrylics on paper. At this stage my work was very much like drawing except that I was using wet media rather than dry. Once I had finished art school, I kept working this way for a couple of years, and even though I was producing some good work, work that I was relatively happy with at least, it was always a bit of a struggle. I was never fully comfortable with the medium, and one day in the studio I just got fed up and started a pencil drawing to distract myself. I ended up working on this drawing for several hours and it was like a weight lifting off my back. When the drawing was complete, I drew several more in the same vein, and started to develop the graphite technique that I am still using today. I haven’t entirely abandoned the idea of painting, but since that day, probably around nine years ago now, drawing has been my primary focus. It’s always challenging, but it is also where I am most at ease.

 

LG: Why do you think drawing is important in contemporary art or as a practice?

DG: If we think back to early societies, the small-scale tribal and village societies that is, mark-making is probably the first form of human creative expression. The motivation may have been a spiritual one; for instance, the replication of animals, of hunting, of bounty, was likely a means to ensure good fortune for the group. Regardless of motivation though, people have been drawing from very early on, whether using sticks to draw in wet clay or applying soot to the walls of a cave. Written language, one of the most important developments of any early society, is also drawing. In fact, outside of the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets, many cultures use pictures to communicate words or thoughts. Hieroglyphs are the best example, but there are many others, including the alphabet of modern China. Once painting began to develop in the Western world, drawing appears to have taken a back seat for awhile. Although artists were still drawing, these works were rarely presented as ‘finished’ pieces. They were practice pieces, sketches and thumbnails prepared for the subsequent completion of a painting.

Skipping over the mid twentieth century, the Modernist artists inadvertently turned painting into the pinnacle of artistic expression. Since that time, painting has continued to dominate the overall art market, while new media, installations and site specific sculpture have found their way into museums as representatives of contemporary art. Drawing, on the other hand, remains a somewhat peripheral practice, which is odd since most artists draw at one time or another. In the past decade I’ve noticed that every so often drawing becomes very popular, with galleries focusing specifically on showing drawings and other works on paper. Unfortunately, these tend to be the passing trends of a fickle art market. This is why it is important for artists to continue promoting that drawing is a medium of no less importance than any other. We’ve never really stopped drawing as a whole, it just got downgraded to a ‘lesser’ medium over time. This downgrade can actually be traced back to the Renaissance but that’s a thesis in itself so I’ll leave it at that.

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Daphne Gerou Reception

On November 24, 2012 Line Gallery hosted Daphne Gerou’s reception.

Daphne Gerou's reception with First Contact and Arrival of the Reaper in the background.

Daphne Gerou's reception with Country Landscape with Planes and After the End in the background.

 

Field – Sarah Kernohan

The following images are of Sarah Kernohan’s exhibition Field which ran from October 27 to November 17, 2012.

View of Untitled (Serac)

View of Untitled (Study for a terminal moraine) and Untitled (Névé)

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Interview with Sarah Kernohan

Line Gallery:  Your work at times has hovered between drawing and painting, but seems to have settled into mainly drawing at this point. Why do you think drawing is a practice that interests you?

Sarah Kernohan: Drawing has been central to my practice from the very beginning, and when I hover into the territory of painting I am using colour to enhance the drawing. When I paint I use highly diluted watercolours and thinned oil paints. My investment in drawing is based on my interest in line, which in my opinion is central to drawing. I am interested in working on paper, using drawing media as well – pens, pencils – and using paints as flat media.

 

LG: Your process of developing a drawing is quite involved. Can you speak about your approach and process when making a drawing?

SK: When I set out to make a drawing – for some reason, I can’t start off by saying that I am going to make a drawing of that object. I stall by doing studies – generally in the dozens – generally fast sketches that take about anywhere between 5 minutes and an hour to complete. I do these to get a sense of what I am working with, but also to determine what I am gravitating toward. All of the objects that I work with have unique surfaces and texture, which can be overwhelming at first. This helps to narrow my focus.

I take these drawings, and sometimes photocopy them and rip them up, looking to see what forms line up – and how I can abstract the object that I am working with. Because I am rarely looking at my subject matter from a single perspective point, I am able to look at how different parts of an object have an influence on an adjacent area. I then take these collages that are usually between 5 and 7 layers deep, and dismantle them, transferring this information to my drawing surface. This process usually takes the most time – and I find it quite relaxing. This is where I start to see where the accumulation of detail has taken place, and how element overlap.

In the case of the drawings that were presented in Field, I was drawn to the extremely weathered surfaces of the shells that I was working with. – They also reminded me of images that I had seen of glaciers from above. I was also attracted to the underside of the shells, which were smooth and polished. I wanted to develop a one-to-one – looking at how the forms on the underbelly influenced the surface detail – so I approached the drawing twice – once from underneath, and once again from the top. To obscure the bottom layer, I coated it with a thin layer of gesso, then drew directly over top of it.

I use different thicknesses of line to finish the drawings – establishing different spatial relationships. Occasionally I use watercolour to highlight low-lying areas, to push those features back in space.

 

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Sarah Kernohan Artist Talk & Reception

On October 27, 2012 Line Gallery hosted Sarah Kernohan’s artist talk in the afternoon and her reception that evening.

Sarah Kernohan speaking at Line Gallery

Sarah Kernohan's reception with Untitled (Study for a terminal moraine) and Untitled (Névé) in the background.

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Strange case of vertical consequences – Erik Jerezano

The following images are of Erik Jerezano’s exhibition Strange case of vertical consequences which ran from September 22 to October 13, 2012.

View of Absurd Ways of Confusing the Enemy series

View of Absurd Ways of Confusing the Enemy series

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