Processes and the human body

For many years live performance and site specific installation were my main means of artistic expression and in many ways my present focus upon drawing continues to relate directly to my earlier performance based work. For me drawing is a very physical act and a very direct means of expression, through which I invest my imagination to produce layers of meaning and possibilities of interpretation. I want my work to communicate a sense of openness and inclusion in which the viewer can feel to be a part of the artistic process and I want my drawing to express the physical and spiritual vastness which is both inside and outside, and also passes through, the human body. So I use drawing to open up the human figure and let the figure expand within the depth of its pictorial field.

My drawing process initially uses nonrepresentational lines whose intention is to uncover areas of sensation and possibilities. These abstract lines then inspire the formative principles of figuration and support the emergence of figurative form. The flow of these abstract lines becomes the figure, the figure exists within the pictorial field, and the field fuses with the figure. Furthermore, the persona of the figure is distinguished by the properties of the lines which form its "body", as the lines intensity of direction or volume literally become the personification or characteristics of the figure. The energy of these lines, unconstrained from the requirements of representation, ensure that the figure is full of motion. As the lines surround and pass through the figure as shifting space and hold the figure as if on a sculptural pedestal in close view.

Through drawing I am searching for a way to reveal the life energy of the human body and in so doing I am developing a form of drawing which is immediate and spontaneous. I am interested in both the surface of the human body and in the life energy of the human figure, which is inside the body and is actually producing the form. My drawing aims to describe the form of these invisible energies and forces which determine the human figure and attempts to render these invisible forces visible. Whilst conveying emotion in my mark making and bringing the image towards a more sculptural realisation. 

Text by Patrick Matthews. 2019.


Just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without no-thing, without the empty space that enables it to be. Every physical object or body has come out of nothing, is surrounded by nothing, and will eventually return to nothing. Not only that, but even inside every physical body there is far more "nothing" than "something." Physicists tell us that the solidity of matter is an illusion. Even seemingly solid matter, including your physical body, is nearly 100 percent empty space - so vast are the distances between the atoms compared to their size. What is more, even inside every atom there is mostly empty space. What is left is more like a vibrational frequency than particles of solid matter, more like a musical note. Buddhists have known that for over 2,500 years. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," states the Heart Sutra, one of the best known ancient Buddhist texts. The essence of all things is emptiness.
The Unmanifested is not only present in this world as silence; it also pervades the entire physical universe as space - from within and without. This is just as easy to miss as silence. Everybody pays attention to things in space, but who pays attention to space itself?

Eckhart Tolle. The Power Of Now. Page 113.