NIGEL BUXTON – new work – 30 May-23 June, 2017
An exhibition of seven works on paper
which describe and explore interior space.
‘What do you see?
What you see in the drawings is what I looked at. However what I saw might not have been what you saw if you had been the one doing the looking. But what I looked at I also thought. And your thought would have been different.
What I looked at is an interior space which is always the same – my studio. Nothing is invented except the set-up. My position in relation to this space remains constant during the working process but the space is activated by pinning elements – black paper, card, and other sheets of paper – to the walls. These elements extend across the floor. Sometimes I add a large drape or sheet of material to one side. A table with a drape over it and some pots are placed in the centre. This forms the main focus of the composition, but it is fair to say that the whole spacial structure is the subject. The easel is positioned at a particular distance and I sit upon a low stool. Both stool and easel stay in the same position. The room has a skylight, which is the main source of light, and no artificial lights are turned on.
The work takes place at the same time of day (mornings) and will continue for a number days or weeks on any one image. Only one drawing is worked at a time and the duration of each day’s session is determined by the quality of the concentration brought to bear on the task. Work stops as soon as this lags.
For me, it is critical to adopt as passive approach as possible while drawing. By this I mean, that although I have stage-managed the scene, the ensuing drama will unfold internally within my apprehension of what is seen and what is thought whilst working. Imposing a will on the preferred outcome – how one would like the drawing to look, or how I think the work should look – always results in failure. The work stops when I am in danger of slipping from the present tense into a future one; anticipating an outcome.
What one has at the end is an accumulation of what has been seen and thought. To a degree, the drawing has drawn itself, as much as that is possible, and it seems that all that has been required is for me to turn up, at the appointed hour, on a regular basis, over a period of time, for this to happen.
The picture though, has coherence, but one I never felt during its making. That process was about time: a series of present tenses condensed into a time-saturated outcome. A past time of visual understanding and a future one of knowing when you can’t possibly go any further. Until, of course, one takes the next piece of paper, pins it to a board, places it on the easel and sits down on the low stool to start again.’
A catalogue which features the work in the show
and backgrounds Buxton’s approach to drawing
accompanies this exhibition.