Sunday, 29 May 2011

Renee Van der Stelt

'How can a drawing affect and shape space in a new way? The works on this site seek formal and conceptual ways to assimilate drawing into the sculptured form. In recent years, I have also become increasingly intrigued by how we think about space through mapping strategies and cartography as well as NASA and satellite images.

The sculptures/drawings are produced through cutting or repeatedly puncturing the surface of the paper with a pin or shaped punch. The resulting images and forms describe space in both diagrammatic and topographic ways. Depending upon the direction of the light and the placement of these forms in space, these visual maps appear as two and three dimensional dots, low reliefs, or points of light. The drawings, which can also be considered sculptures, suggest the globe and our galaxy. They also explore strategies for mapping three dimensional space as well as movements around the globe such as wind, water currents, or bird migration patterns. They reveal the biases and limitations of how we think about space as well as of how we use maps as a tool to perpetuate those ideas.

While in residency at the Roswell Artist in Residence Program from June 2008-2009, the work focused in part on the mineral resources available in the geographic region: specifically the location of water, oil, gas, and electric lines. The desire to understand complex systems of local and global human interaction with natural resources is what lies behind the abstracted drawings/sculptures. If successful, when seen as overlapping images, there is an attempt to give the viewer a broader understanding of the region.

Additionally, ink and graphite drawings exhibit a more intimate, response to the land by literally tracing the movement of varied grasses in the wind. The drawings of flight patterns in the sky made by Cranes, Bats, and Starlings from locations in New Mexico attempt to find fugitive visual lines in space. And works capturing the transient movement of raindrops on varied days or in different storms show another form of transient drawing. The drawings are simple attempts to capture hidden movements in space through the practice of drawing.

The cliché verre drawings (seen in the mixed media section) are created through scanning and enlarging cropped sections of 4 x 5” ink blot drawings to become large lamda prints. The resulting images resemble deep space photographs from NASA or satellite images of planets. Once again, they reveal the biases and limitations of how we think about space as well as of how we use technology as a tool to perpetuate those ideas.

The digital block prints (seen in the digital drawing section) explore how space and lines are ‘drawn’ by the specific placement of the blocks, but also by an altered perspective. The block diptychs change from a traditional to an aerial perspectives, alluding to Google-Earth views of urban space. How does satellite photography affect the way we conceive of personal and urban space?

Drawing is a visual mark of any kind in the most basic sense. In representing some thing, we are always representing ourselves: we both seek to capture an existing thing, but create a new one in the process. Paper is a widespread support for drawing, and drawings are generally two-dimensional. While interested in these traditional notions and strategies for drawing as a practice, I am also very interested in following new practices that may extend the definition of what an active life of drawing encompasses.'
Renee Van der Stelt


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