Monday, December 19, 2005

240 radio towers

i spent my birthday in 1994 at the art brut museum in lausanne, switzerland. at the time, i hardly considered myself an artist. i had just finished scientific illustration school and given up my job as a research assistant in marine biology to move to france with my new husband (an aside: though we're still great friends, jean-paul and i have since been divorced...three years ago exactly, today, in fact...). i always had this longing to make art about science, and felt that all i'd learned at risd had put me on the right track, but my work hadn't coalesced into something yet. anyway, there i was at this phenomenal museum of works by "untrained artists". i could hardly catch my breath. i took copious notes, and absorbed everything like a sponge. later i based much of the content of my little booklet "EVOLUTION OF AN ARTIST" on what i learned that day.

here it is over 12 years later, and i was coming in here this morning to post one of my latest drawings. i was going to preface the post by saying that these new drawings feel familiarly, comfortably obsessive, like when i used to do stipple renderings of skate egg cases with a rapidograph. only instead of little dots, i'm drawing radio towers. hundreds of them. then i remembered some drawings i saw at the musee d'art brut, and dug through my files to find a postcard of some work done in 1939 by eugene gabritschievsky. i remembered how moved i'd been by his astounding, tiny, repetitious drawings of creatures. then i googled him and found out that Gabritschevsky was a pretty well-known biologist and geneticist before he was institutionalized for schizophrenia, where he created over 5,000 drawings. In his bio (link above) it says that "Gabritschevsky feels that the unexpected and the haphazard in art as well as in science are the basis of knowledge."

wow. i couldn't agree more.

i did this drawing while i was in court waiting my turn to be tried for the stickercrime. it's on some fabulous "dupont explosives" graph paper given to me by a friend whose dad used to be an explosives engineer (that friend, a crazybrilliant "untrained artist" in his own right, disappeared eight years ago today on a tiny sailboat in the north atlantic).