Thursday 22 July 2010

Drawing and Dance

In previously projects I have used visual arts based research methodologies. For these I would take a group of participants to a dance performance and then as them to draw or paint in response to their exprience in visual arts based research workshops.

The workshop were run by myself alongside
Brian Hartley, a Glasgow based artist and teacher with whom I have worked in the past on similar projects. In designing the sessions we decided to structure the workshops to move from more directed exercises at the beginning before moving on to freer responses. We were also conscious that for some of the participants there might be a hesitancy over drawing and a need to “loosen-up” or overcome inhibitions about making marks on paper. The initial exercises, therefore, were designed to gather responses to the performance in a manner that disrupted perception of drawing as a skill-based activity. So the participants were asked to draw something they remembered from the performance using a pen taped to the end of a long bamboo cane; to make a drawing with their eyes closed; and to draw with their “wrong” hand.

The objective with such exercises was to allow the participants to forget about their own particular artistic abilities and simply start making marks on paper. The externally imposed limitations provided a focus separate from the overall “quality” of the art works and separate also from the content. Additionally the limitation often results in pictures that are less inhibited by a desire to “get it right” and allows for more expressive and communicative drawing and engagement.
These directed tasks were followed by a period of “free drawing”, where participants were asked to draw anything they remembered from the performance. There was no instruction here as to whether the drawings should be figurative, expressive or conceptual. As they drew, Brian and I went round the room talking to the participants about their drawings and their memories of the performance. These conversations were recorded and transcribed. The subsequent analysis made use of both the transcribed conversations and the documented art works, reading from one to the other and back again in a manner that allowed the words to affirm an interpretation of the art works but still allowed readings to be made of the materiality and visual qualities of the drawings.

No comments:

Post a Comment