In my last year at PAFA, I started making drawings consisting of repeated inked words on heavy printmaking paper. Six in a Room is one in a series of these drawings. Each strip of paper contains the words of a close friend. They were all asked to choose 5 words representing preoccupations – things that had been on their mind of late. I was interested in giving up control to others in terms of the subject matter of this piece, and in what my acts of my writing and externalizing their words repeatedly would mean.
Some parts of the piece – like the smudges that occurred when the ink blotted or my hand got tired – were elements of chance and loss of control to which I wanted to make myself available.
I also created a pair of vertical column drawings, made by sewing squares of the same printmaking paper together. These words come from texts I was reading and my journals. They were made to span the full height of the exhibition wall.
This sculpture, Written was my first attempt to bridge the gap between the paper models I have been constructing & photographing and my word drawings. Much of the text is my transcription of letters sent between my grandmother and grandfather on the eve of World War II, when they had just first met and were being separated because of the war. She stayed in England while he was sent to Australia. The other text comes from my own conversations and letters with loved ones surrounding the subject of loss. The project was prompted by the exhibition ‘Constructions & Obstructions,’ curated by Abby King.