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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Drawing the Line 2

"The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes" Marcel Proust

Drawing the Line 2 at the Frederick Parker Gallery is an exhibition of digitised and original sketchbooks which represent a visual mark-making narrative of the train journey that has been undertaken weekly by Mark Lewis from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill (and vice versa) on the Chiltern Mainline since April 2011. Mark’s working methods on these journeys are expressed through an extensive range of graphical media and drawing strategies including the use of an iPad. Mark's sketchbook journals are a response to the urban and rural landscape observed on the train journeys. Drawing from a moving train he attempts to establish a form of visual intimacy with a continually changing landscape viewed at different times of the day in all seasons

The exhibition, which follows a first Drawing the Line at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, explores the relationship between visual perception and mark-making and the way in which new ways of seeing are encouraged by working spontaneously under self-imposed pressure. Semi-abstract visual metaphors capture landscape gestures, hidden structures, energies and patterns. These are representations or ‘visual cues’ which have the potential to tease out the truth of a landscape viewed at speed.

For the exhibition related sequences of pages from Mark's sketchbooks have been collaged together to create larger abstract images composed of many semi-abstract landscapes. In this practice his work can be compared with that of John Virtue, who "never makes direct transcriptions of his subjects, but rather uses the hundreds of drawings in his sketchbooks as a starting point for imagined or remembered landscapes." He is interested in making exciting abstractions from what he perceives.

In the 1980s Virtue exhibited large landscape paintings, "assembled from as many as 200 separate drawings placed on abutting panels in a grid formation." Andrew Graham-Dixon wrote of these images: "Each panel in a Virtue is different; this is not nature on the production line, but a potent image of the world's unknowability." In these works "the eye becomes lost in the labyrinth of forms established by the juxtaposition of different panels." Virtue stated, "I wanted to find a means of expression that tallied with my experience of being in the landscape, of being mobile in the landscape." In these images repetition and familiarity do not breed contempt, instead it "breeds a deeper and deeper love; a spiritual experience."


Bruce Cockburn - Night Train.

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