Drawing Lines.

January 2, 2008

Lines on a cliff face get carved in by wind, recording it for later readers; gullies and ditches sketch where water has gone. Lines on paper do much the same. Two nature artists have touched on this in their work. The British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy wrote in his book Stone:

Drawing is not restricted to or defined by pencil or paper; it is related to life, like drawing breath or a tree taking nourishment through its roots to draw with its branches the space in which it grows. A river draws the valley and the salmon the river.

And art-walker Richard Long may be a salmon. He writes in Walking the Line:

My first work made by walking, in 1967, was a straight line in a grass field, which was also my own path, going ‘nowhere’. …my intention was to make a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art. Each walk followed my own unique, formal route, for an original reason… Each walk, though not by definition conceptual, realised a particular idea. Thus walking– as art– provided an ideal means for me to explore relationship between time, distance, geography and measurement.

The paths he leaves, usually imperceptible, act as a kind of mark-making, accentuating landscape and space like lines on a map. It looks like sub-Robert Morris work when tied to a gallery. Better out in the wind & sun.

Both these artists get called sculptors, but I see more in common with drawing. In other words, I should be doing contour sketches of driftwood, to catch the flow of wood and the water. Or maybe tightrope-walking on power lines.

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