"Drawing is for me the bones of thought." Dorothea Rockburne
The Indication drawings, according to Rockburne,
"were made during and after the installations so as to retain a memory of the concepts and as a way to make actual drawings containing all of the principles involved."
The exhibition at Jill Newhouse Gallery will engage and complement the concurrent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art: Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing Which Makes Itself. (September 21, 2013-January 20, 2014). This exhibition will show a group of major carbon paper and wall works from MoMA's own collection including Nesting and Neighborhood. At Jill Newhouse Gallery, Indication Drawings for Nesting and Neighborhood will be on view.
These important simultaneous exhibitions will describe a turning point in the history of modern drawing practices, when paper became the subject rather than the carrier of an ancillary image. Rockburne's work of this period launched an extended inquiry into the nature of drawing. One of her most compelling contributions to art history is the investigation of drawing as privileged medium for visualizing both the rigors of thought—including mathematical and art historical ideas and principles—and the dynamic flow of lived experience.
Rockburne recently wrote in recollection of the works of 1973, "I've always had an enormous impulse to draw, to make drawing that described only itself, that didn't have any subject matter except itself. In this way I investigated the natural geometry intrinsic to every sheet of paper, treating each sheet as a continuous surface with a back, a front, and depth."
The introduction of carbon paper marks was a way to visualize the experience of time. It was on a 1972 trip to Italy to study early Italian art, that Rockburne first experimented with carbon paper as a way to incorporate the to-and-fro of time in her work. In 1973, prompted by a memory of her daughter’s drawing on a waitress's notepad, Rockburne was inspired to use carbon paper as the marking element in the wall drawings.
"Because it is indirect, carbon paper somehow seemed like a perfect material to use when questioning time. The very act of marking one surface in order to influence another indicates a passage of time…When the drawings were completed I questioned how they worked. Small sheets of carbon paper were acting on a much larger papered surface. Past experience, both in math and art, taught me that when any material acts on itself, it generates an energy as it seeks a wider field in which to act. Electrons behave that way and so do people."
A fully illustrated digital catalogue with essay by Dr Anna Lovatt, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Manchester, will be available.