Artist's statement


My research is essentially about investigating the relationship between the two dimensional and the three dimensional existing as an installation in different spaces. Due to my interest in contemporary music and dance, my work has also led into the development of performance-related collaborations with other artists.

The CD-ROM catalogue published by the EICH Gallery was compiled to celebrate and document my work over the last 15 years and also to accompany the exhibition of drawings and small sculpture, Incisions, Recesses, which was shown at the EICH Gallery, Hull, and the Bruton Gallery, Leeds.

As this is the most recent body of new work to be exhibited, I felt that it was the drawings and the small sculpture in particular that I wanted to write about; maybe in order to understand a little more about the direction in which they are leading me.

When I make drawings, the practice of constructing the image is a sensual, contemplative, yet demanding pursuit. It is often, that I will listen to contemporary classical music at the same time, which was so, when I made the series of drawings Incisions, Recesses during 1999, and the first drawing of another series So Far, So Near, 2000.

Whether the music directly influences the work or not is another issue, at times however this has happened in the past. However I do not necessarily wish the sculpture or drawing to illustrate, or be a copy of something else, more to engage with a quality heard in the music. The dynamic purity of line, shape, tone, colour, edge, perimeter, within the illusionary and real space of the drawing plane or location of the forms are really what interests me the most and without deliberate intention other meanings, associations, are revealed in the tension between form and space - whether two-dimensional or three-dimensional.

The visual sense of rhythm, stillness, equivalent to sound and silence, created by the use of distance between the shapes/forms, or the closeness of how a shape or form may almost touch another, creates the dialogue.

The underlying simple structure of each of the drawings is measured out before I begin, using what I intuitively sense is the appropriate division of the chosen size of the drawing. There is then a mathematical discipline that is a constant objective, which I then break by placing the drawn shapes at random intervals, as in the case of So Far, So Near. Each of the shapes used in all the drawings was again measured. In So Far, So Near, the shape used was the exact length of my own eye.

Now in response to the drawings Incisions, Recesses; So Far, So Near and also the small sculpture Pockets, I have an understanding of the work that reveals this need to balance the intuitive with the logical; the objective with the subjective; the sense of distance and closeness; an awareness of the immense and the intimate, again the body and a sense of an inner reality.

“Simplicity is not an end in art, but we arive at simplicity in spite of ourselves, in approaching the real sense of things. Simplicity is complexity itself, and one has to be nourished by its essence in order to understand its value.
Constantin Brancusi


Joanna Mowbray
June 2000

© Text (including cv) Joanna Mowbray. All photographs unless otherwise stated copyright Joanna Mowbray

Special thanks to: John, Liam, Kathie, Chrys

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