Directions For Knowing All Dark Things, 1991
The title of this series is borrowed from a medieval alchemy manuscript. The 20 x 60 or 20 x 36 inch mixed-media drawings are on 300-pound Arches watercolour paper. In the eleven drawings, I try to come to terms with the death of a long ago girlfriend with whom I was reconciled only four months before her death in July 1989.
The drawings were made to hang as a frieze high on the walls at ARC, an artist-run gallery in Toronto. In this way, they mimicked the lesson charts above chalkboards on classroom walls in a typical school in the early twentieth century.
As in the series, Lessons in Seeing, these works were produced on black or white gesso or chalkboard green paint. I allowed bits of previous (abandoned) drawings to glimmer through the ground on which I made the new works. This way of working reflects my interest in allowing earlier (failed?) drawings to peek through new drawing to conflict physically, psychologically and conceptually with new ideas. This relates to my belief that art-making as process (in the alchemistic sense of refining lead into gold) is more important than the finished work of art.
As well as at ARC, these drawings have been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Lindsay and in a group exhibition in Vancouver in 1995. Four of the drawings are in private collections.