History of Process


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My method of drawing is the result of having spent over twenty years contemplating Paul Cézanne’s late-landscape paintings. In college I was inspired by my Art History professor Herschel B. Chipp, who showed many examples of Cézanne’s visionary late-landscapes. Considered the Father of Modern Art, Cézanne and his paintings inspired Pablo Picasso and George Braque to develop Cubism, which, by manually deconstructing the visible, gave birth to Twentieth Century abstraction in art.

I was left with such a deep impression of Cézanne’s importance from my teacher, however, and was so haunted by a sense of the eternal in these late-landscapes that I felt there was more to be uncovered from the source. As the years passed I couldn’t help but think Cézanne had achieved something deeper, more far reaching than what Picasso saw. Cubism, to me, seemed more a caricature of Cézanne’s effects rather than an advance to where Cézanne’s work was pointing.

From my observations, I began to see that the secrets Cézanne had uncovered were pointing in a different direction; not of abstraction, which dead-ended at the close of the 20th Century, but to a crossroads - mirroring depth into time and simultaneously spreading out in front of me. I realized Cézanne’s late-landscapes (Mont Sainte-Victoire,1902) displayed the all-encompassing characteristics of “matter” or “nature” as a self-organizing system. This fundamental shift in paradigms from my linear understanding of matter and its evolution would lead me down a new road – where complex patterns and systems emerge from a multitude of simple (random or non-random) interactions. I wanted to emulate what Cézanne had achieved and do so without having to meticulously copy nature as he did to get it. I wanted to create it directly.

It was by layering alternating applications of graphite (a form of carbon¹) and eraser, in strict adherence to rhythmic motion on to a surface of Bristol board that allowed the emergence of this evolutionary process: complexity approaching chaos, self-organizing, and then leaping to a higher state. I found that by weaving line and erasure in circular motion to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (whose polyphonic music drives and inspires me) their patterns could approach chaos as they escalated in density, self-organize by centrifugal force and then evolve to a higher state of vision or multi-faceted clarity.

The result of this process visually produces a fixed yet mirroring depth capable of capturing many angles or dimensions of an image in time. And while the process is my focus, the forged imagery is the result of what is energetically captured in that evolving moment in time.

¹Carbon- a nonmetallic chemical element that exists in two main forms, diamond and graphite. Its ability to form large numbers of organic compounds allowed living organisms to evolve.

Lory Pollina


August, 2013