EXE OVO

As an accompaniment to my sculptural interests in the later 1990s which focused more closely on the expression of 'organisms' and biological form, I used my ‘pencil/white spirit’ technique to suggest emergent life in the Ex ovo series of paintings. My aim here was that whatever pictorial technique I chose should itself reflect the processes of natural evolution i.e. ideally containing a similar mixture of determinism and opportunism. I had planned a series of small ‘embryonic’ formations (c.16x16cm) to be arranged either as a block or a line. I chose a heavy-duty and slightly impervious (smooth surface) drawing paper and, by repeatedly rubbing coloured pencil pigment onto the surface with white spirit managed to create quite a dark and rich patina as a basis. When dry this field of colour could be gently rubbed away with a soft eraser, creating highlights almost back to white if need be. The effects were not always completely controllable or predictable, and this was important for the subject matter.

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01/02