Biking in Berlin 55, 2010, flashe, gouache, collage, guidebook page, 5.75" x 8.25"
This series of collaged works on paper came out of a residency in Berlin, Germany. Instead of following my original proposal for the residency, I found myself spending my days biking every day, reveling in the cycle-friendly nature of the city and taking in the sights and geography of the place in a round, physical and moving way. Rather than walk up to a building from one perspective, I would ride around and around it to get a sense of the whole. Rather than take the subway and pop up in various locations, I traversed the city arriving at my destination with a sense of the related urban terrain. The guidebook was set aside and the biking invited me to simply inhabit the city.
In tracking my trips around the city by tracing the paths on my map, I noticed quirky, random shapes emerging and decided to use those shapes to anchor a new set of drawings. Lacking paper, I decided to disassemble the guidebook itself and use its pages as the drawing surface. Secondary smaller shapes were extracted from the images on the guidebook pages, painted and replaced into the page. And some shapes were extracted and left out creating empty shapes in the drawings. So all of the shapes that comprise the drawings are from Berlin, some first drawn by the paths I cycled and others from the architecture and other elements of the city.
In making these works, my approach was consciously casual in the same spirit as the biking itself. The system I devised called for one large map shape placed relatively centrally on the page, juxtaposed with the smaller extracted shapes.
In all, this body of work is concerned with an intuitive approach using real activity and objects as elements in the making.
The color is not planned but chosen as serendipitously as the cycle routes. In some cases, the smaller shapes were painted in separate sessions from the larger shapes so the mashup of color was only apparent in the final fabrication of the drawings.
In this body of work, I am interested in drawing, physicality, intuitive responses in the moment and an intimacy both in the experience that inspired the work and in beholder's experience of the work itself. The constructed quality of the works invites nose to nose inspection. At first, the works seem like flat bits of color. On closer inspection, they reveal a funkiness and physicality which is, at once, intimate and imperfect.