Date of Award
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
This paper explores the concept of drawing as a time-based practice, where the process is the core of the artwork rather than the finished product. I divide my artistic concerns into four chapters, each advancing on the previous one, to discuss my drawing practice, which allows for exploration of time and space across a wide array of media and styles of representation. I embrace impulse and intuition in the mark-making process, letting go of control while prioritizing the form of depicted figures over their image. This paper highlights the importance of my inner contradiction and how the process reflects my thought patterns, rather than simply the result. Additionally, I find affinity in the works of referenced artists and writers, including Amy Sillman, Brian Rutenberg, Steffani Jemison, and Sarah Sze, as their theories that examine the process of making are relevant to my practice. Eventually, my improvised experiments of drawing in my thesis artwork, Geese, Why Geese?, exemplify the features of my works that explore the boundaries between progress and product, discipline and madness, and opens new possibilities to find expansiveness through constraint.
Heather Bennett, Cheryl Wassenaar Savage
Miao, Ciel, "Drawing as Process: Expansiveness Through Constraint" (2023). Bachelor of Fine Arts Senior Papers. 103.
My works germinate from the sparkles of life, and they won’t be complete without fantasizing. Ever since I was little, when my eyes make contact with the textured surface of a wooden table, a cracked brick wall, or a marble floorboard, graphics reveal themselves. I used to stare at a piece of plastic flooring on my elementary school playground just to follow the uncatchable phantoms flowing within it. Sometimes they were sea anemones dancing on reefs, sometimes birch branches protruding into the unknown terra and sometimes ants eroding an elongated serpent…. Those instantaneous, flashing images would disappear once I lift my eyes. But here’s the pattern: They usually possess an organic manner of moving and transforming. Those ever-changing patterns offer me guidance, along with plants and other organic figures blooming into my wonderland. They spread. They invade. They develop through over-layering across time and space. This is a world where we worship rules. Being born and raised under the five-starred red flag, I have been taught stability through structure is all. I paint to draw—such activity can betray any form of predictability: swiping dry brushes, rubbing a paper towel against the unstretched canvas, scrubbing oil with a palette knife, collaging on top of finished painting, smearing charcoal powder over watercolor then splashing some diluted ink over them, watching the fluid dripping down…. There could be a million ways to transcribe one object. Consistency of one style is the nemesis. Only under such meticulous practice, the memory of momentum and velocity can be engraved into my creative muscles. Embrace the convergence of the representational and the abstract—paints don’t just appear to be chaos but directionalize themselves at the correct moments. Figures being dynamic are not meant to just move around but to speed up, resonate with the constructed surroundings, turn over, and throw themselves into the air to decode the vitality of depth on this two-dimensional surface.