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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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Visiting us safely 12 August 2021

We are delighted to be launching our 2021/22 season with a solo exhibition spanning 50 years of work by Andrew Logan, one of Britain’s most iconic artists.

We have put several measures in place to make your visit safe. They are constantly under review, subject to change and may vary slightly depending on Government guidance. Please check back to this page prior to planning your visit.

– Please do not visit the gallery if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are self-isolating, or have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus. Follow the NHS coronavirus guidelines.

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