Rocks in a distance, mountains in the mist the space between the unconscious and conscious perception

The mental image is an impossibility, it does not exist.

Rocks in a distance, mountains in the mist (2016) is a project which is realised through the procedural twinning of two of the most complex of processes that happen through the artist's body, in order to create 'works' that are situated within our understanding of the art of drawing, and situated in the liminal space between the genres of abstraction and figuration: on one hand the process rests on the nature of instinctive making, where through the use of tools normally associated with drawing, the hand automatically and instinctively executes marks through a command issued by the brain a split second before; and on the other, the concurrent approbation through visual meaning-making and automatic aestheticisation of the reading of the same marks, or more appropriately 'signs', by the brain through the faculty of sight.

Through establishing deliberate constraints on the drawing process, such as observing the action only through peripheral vision, using my left hand instead of my right (I am right-handed), and making the marks at intermitting speeds and varying aggression, the process is forced to come to a point of cessation not through any rational or aesthetic decision, but alternately when I arbitrarily decide that the action should stop and I should look at the work consciously, framing it head on and deliberately refraining from adding any other marks as a result of rationality. During this very short but intensive production process, I suppress all the artistic/aesthetic/cultural baggage that has conditioned my art practice along the years in order to activate a more innate and primal physical dimension.

These actions are frozen in their own states of becoming and await a raison d'être in order to justify a new existence and become an art product; a commodity that can be named (the title of the series is taken from a description of the work by an artist friend after seeing the work in an email correspondence), framed and hung on a wall.

The series forms part of my continued interest in Graphism, through an attempt to 'frame' the activity that happens within the half-second delay between the action of the brain and the reaction of the body, and in turn to question the complexity of the art-making process, its tools and the convention of its consumption by the viewer.

Rocks in a distance, mountains in the mist - 297 x 210mm - series of 9 works, box framed - pencil and wash on foxed cartridge paper - 2016

Collection: the artist


Copyright - Vince Briffa 2016

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