Ever since discovering Zen Buddhism as a twenty-year-old, I have been interested in applying chance techniques in various ways.
The ink stick drawings below were created by what I call ‘spontaneous art’. I invite my unconscious to communicate
with me. I empty my mind, and draw as quickly as possible with an ink stick on wet or damp paper. The results
almost always are meaningful to me, and do not require re-touching. I title them afterwards, after studying the outcome.
Just recently I discovered that the abstract expressionist artist Robert Motherwell used a very similar technique
involving very rapid drawing on wet paper in the series he titled ‘Lyric Suite.’
Quoting the artist from Robert Motherwell: with Pen and Brush by Mary Ann Caws:
"Without a priori traditional or moral prejudices or a posteriori ones, without iconography, and above all without revisions
or additions upon critical reflection and judgment. Give up one's being to the enterprise and see what lies within, whatever
it is. Venture. Don't look back. Do not tire. Everything is open."
Caws writes: "He completed the drawings in seconds with brushstrokes made 'with as much violence as possible
without tearing the paper.' After Motherwell finished drawing, he allowed the ink to spread out uncontrolled on the absorbent
rice paper so that the drawings 'continued to paint themselves.' This incorporation of chance further demonstrates
Motherwell's debt to the Surrealists, who invited accidents into their work."
The title of the series, 'Lyric Suite' refers to a musical composition for string quartet by Alban Berg that Motherwell listened
to while making the drawings. Although as mentioned I have been using this style off and on since my early twenties,
the earliest that survive my various journeyings are the next two from 1999 drawn spontaneously with a Pentel pen.
As always, I am amazed at how figurative they are, how 'un-abstractly' they can be interpreted.