A Place in the Middle

52"h x 42"w

Frequently in my drawings I end up with overlapping images, probably due to my desire to be somewhat frugal in my use of paper. Sometimes the composition of an entire page jumps out at me as a thing in itself, as opposed to a collection of individual images sharing a page. My piece, “A Place in the Middle” is the result of such a drawing. More than a single theme is taking place, yet there is a relationship that is evident among the various elements. It is as if the things that fell out of my head in those moments were parts of a more specific larger story.

 

I think the driving force behind this piece has to do with how we spend our time, how we catch ourselves idling. When we are young, it seems we are idle a great deal of the time, swinging a piece of rope, or kicking a rock about the surface of the ground, or bouncing a ball. Fishing, too, is mostly idling. I wouldn’t suggest that idling itself is a bad thing, as it may be necessary to get ones bearing. It might be as useful as sleep is to focusing our lives, and it could be essential to our creative lives.

Something I've noticed in my sketches over the years, is that many of the images have  a decidedly pensive attitude, in both animal and human figures. I think that there is a very brief moment in watching a human or animal that captures an image that says something meaningful. A snap shot of momentary idling. My most frequent critique of art is that the artist has missed the moment by a little or maybe a lot, by trying to add excitement or action where there needn’t be any. For instance, a stop motion pose can very easily ring hollow if it is stopped in a position that our eye cannot naturally capture. A hurdler can be seen clearly at the top of his high stride, for a split second, when he is headed neither up nor down, but on the way up or down, he is moving too fast for us to fix an image that is comfortable. Stop-frame viewing of a film only has a few frames that make a great single image. In this piece, I am concentrating on that part of our lives when we aren't doing anything, and yet neither are we wasting our time.  Many of my best memories are of moments like the feeling of the first sunny, warm day of spring, when it hits you like a rock that the world is really something. It matters but little what you are doing, but that you are aware of something other than the task. You could be building a fence, and suddenly things come clear. The moment stands still, long enough that you can grasp it without it slipping away. You might just stand there a moment and notice how great of a day it is. In this sculpture, I am trying to capture rays of sunshine through maybe a light rain. Then on top of that, a marking of time. The cattle on the lower panel are part of the quintessential pastoral image, I suppose. Maybe if we were grazers, we would spend more time at ease.  Our having hands seems to doom us humans to being overly busy creatures. 

 

The measuring devices amongst the textures of the piece compose the incremental ways we divide space and time, as if our lives were made of separate tiles, that when pieced properly together, reveal a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

All Rights Reserved, David Crawford; 2019