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Reflecting on Performing Drawology - Dominique Phizacklea 16 February 2016

Sitting in the Gallery today I have had time to reflect on the evolution that has occurred here over the last few weeks. As I had to be knowledgeable when on shift, I made time to visit and revisit the exhibition, and have watched the changes, which at first seemed subtle, explode outwards.

For me what began as simplistic has become anything but. I was unsure how I would feel when returning to the space each time. The first few weeks, I remember wanting, craving almost a mark to be made upon the clear skin of the white gallery walls, a blemish to appear on the pale rolls of paper. I had enjoyed the feeling of wonder when stumbling on the snail shells and small drawings pinned to the walls like an insect in a specimen tray. But despite this, I have struggled with feelings that the activity was too stuffy or reserved for such a large open space.

I understand the title of the exhibition “Performing Drawology” to mean the actions or performance of drawing, the strokes and movement. Like a dance. With the marks made the evidence of the action. As a Fine Art student we are always reminded to question: “what is the work? Is it the drawings? Or the act of making them?”

I feel my stance on this issue shifted during the continuation of the exhibition. I at first saw the appearance of the sculptural snails and the miniature drawings as the work, only now realising that in the later weeks, I found watching the workings of the artists to be the work and the results almost a by-product.

When returning to view Joe Graham in residence in the exhibition I had the chance to not only be part of the work by assisting him but was able to observe the decisions being formed. Despite what I felt to be a fast-paced approach to the space, I could see each movement made with his body as calculated; each mark made, each incision, each drip. When turning up for my shift, I first felt uncomfortable as the level of change from the almost sleeping state of the exhibition over the weekend of rest had awakened in to a very big and playful scene. I did not think I would like the changes, as someone who does not like change I felt almost anxious seeing the carefully folded concertina paper installations altered, cut up and strewn across the floor.

I did not think I would like exhibition after this but I was wrong. I quickly got in to the groove of Graham’s work and left my shift with a smile on my face, having enjoyed having fun in the gallery.

I return to the act of reflecting. Actively absorbing and thinking. Adjective, doing word. Today, on the last day of the exhibition, I see the finished gallery and conclude that I am among a stage set, an active space. I feel it is impossible to do nothing here now, my eyes wonder around the space in continuous movement. I watch the time-lapse video, noticing the moment where I am present. The sped-up movement return my thoughts to dance. I spin around to look at more of the room, more of the projection.

I take away my conclusion as to what the work is. For me, ultimately, I was the work. The way I now move around the Gallery in response to the performance of the artists is almost as if they had written the play and I am the dutiful performer.

Dominique Phizacklea

BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2.

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