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FIGURING OUT THE FIGURE

November 4 – December 11, 2010

Kirklin 1
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Deborah Kirklin — Artemis in Cardigan, Charcoal on paper,
18" x 24"

Artist Statement

Gesture is the basis for my figure drawings. Without gesture, the drawing goes dead for me. When I was in college, I audited two figure drawing classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In Monsieur Plin’s studio, the idea was to create the form of the figure through repeated, gestural lines. He insisted on heads at the top and feet at the bottom, and no shading. At the end of the week, brave students showed a stack of these drawings to him and he would pronounce them to be flat or to have form, in loud emphatic French. What I got out of this was he value of searching for something ineffable, not knowing how to do I, and learning through practice and repetition. Madame Zavarro’s class was more laissez faire. Except that we drew two models who never stood still. They moved in slow motion to the synthesized soundtrack of “A Clockwork Orange”. I drew on stacks of the cheapest paper, trying to summarize the figures with Japanese brushes and sumi ink. The desperation involved in doing this produced drawings both economical and comical. I realized that was all that drawing is, to some extent, done from memory.

The drawings in this show are mainly from a series I made working from the same model over many months in my studio. I hired a former student to model and we became friends. The collaboration between artist and model can’t be underestimate. In some of the drawings the gestural marks are buried, a preliminary sketch. I love he way drawing in vine charcoal is similar to painting. It slides across the surface of the of the paper, and it’s messy. Mistakes can be wiped out quickly. The materials and the tonal range in these drawings were inspired by the charcoal figure drawings of Matisse and Diebenkorn.

October 2010
Santa Rosa

 

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