Wendy Smith Drawing

From my point of view drawing is first and foremost a response to the impulse to mark the surface. I draw out of curiosity: I look to drawing(s) to tell me something I do not know already, to yield perceptual experiences that defy expectation. Drawing is not a skill to be acquired, it is an investigative activity that imposes its own discipline and requires an attentiveness that accompanies any honest question. Drawing is a way of exploring and testing pictorial possibility.

All drawing is on the surface of board or paper of a given area but within its boundary is the strangest uncharted region which, prior to the drawing, is not so much unmarked as empty. The simple act of drawing with pen or pencil punctuates the surface, draws tension into it. The picture plane is an idea drawn into being in the process of picture-making. The surface of a drawing consists of material stuff - paper, graphite, ink, and so on - the picture plane does not; the picture plane is an illusory space available only to visual perception. The picture plane is an optical transformation of medium into image.

Drawing a line, and paying attention to it once drawn, are ways of meditating on line itself but also on the nature of surface. Drawing a line is a way of describing, imaging or picturing that arises from the need to have purchase on a realm we cannot see. Drawing is a way of revealing what is possible on a given surface and often the consequence is quite startling spatial illusion.

It seems appropriate at this point to pay tribute to the late Richard Gregory whose work has been a lifelong influence and inspiration.