Contextual study point 10: Notations Exhibition

When completing this research I didn’t think much of some of the drawings. When I was choosing artists to look at in more detail, I briefly looked at their work, without reading about it. I felt this way about Carl Andre’s work, as I wasn’t really sure about his drawings, as I personally prefer more abstract expressionist style work but once I had read about the work and then re-read it, I was able to grasp a better understanding the work. I feel like this mistake may have been made at some of the other artists I dismissed when reading the essay as I wasn’t sure what was being said. However I am confident that I could return to this research point if and when I need to. It is rather exciting to have the potential of discovering more artists work that I can use to begin my own work.



Notations (2013) About the Exhibition. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Essay At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Anastasi, W. (2012) [Interview sourced online, March 2012] At; (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Carl Andre. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Eva Hesse. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Jasper Johns. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Le Va, B. (2012) [Interview sourced online, 18 October 2010] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)  interview

Notations (2013) Sol-LeWitt. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Anges Martin. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notations (2013) Richard Serra. At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)


Referencing for images:

Figure 1. Anastasi, W. (2005) Untitled (subway drawing) [graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 2. Le Va, B. (1968) Wash [ink on graph paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 3. Andre, C. (1966) Blue Lock [coloured ink and felt tip pen on graph paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 4. Hesse, E. (1963-64) Untitled [collage, gouache, watercolour and ink on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 5. Hesse, E. (1967) Untitled [ink on graph paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 6. Johns, J. (1964-65) From Untitled Painting [charcoal, oil and pastel on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 7. LeWitt, S. (1967) Three-part variations on Three different kinds of cubes 331. [ink and graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 8. LeWitt, S. (1990) Maquette for 1 x 2 x 2 Half Off [paint on wood] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 9. Martin, A. (1960) Aspiration [ink on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 10. Martin, A. (1963) Wood 1. [watercolour and graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 11. Serra, R. (1986) Arc [paint] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Figure 12. Serra, R. (1971) Untitled preliminary drawing for L.A. County Museum [graphite on paper] At: (Accessed on 2nd November 2018)

Notes on Essay:

Below are copied and pasted points from the essay of things that I found interesting and would like to pin point in my research.

  • the exhibition consists of drawings made by American artists that associate with Minimal, postmininal and conceptual art along with artists that engage with the aesthetic straggles and procedures of their predecessors
  • Some of the drawings are self-contained and autonomous but are often studies for how to proceed into a sculpture, installation or sit-specific work
  • Some artists use a grid to formulate ideas and drawings, some have thoughts and knowledge as the essential component of the artwork, other focus on materials – however all the artists consider their drawings no less important than the ideas that they convey
  • (pge 2) ‘drawing played a central role in attempts by artists associated with the process-based and conceptually rigorous practices of minimal and conceptual art to open up established understandings of aesthetic production’
  • Artists; Dan Falvin, Eva Hesse, Barry Le Va and Sol LeWitt embraced drawing’s most important attributes – ‘its mobility and elasticity, its economy and anti monumental character, its exploratory nature, and its facility for acting as a mediator, translating abstract concepts into form’.
  • The drawings from these artists suggest a level of intimacy and direct encounter with he artists’ thoughts and intentions.

Industrial fabrication/ individual notation (pg 3)

  • artists associated with minimalism – Donald Judd and Dan Flavin – sought to free art from symbolic emotional content and pretensions about its transcendent quality.
  • Minimalist artists used drawing as a development point to move onto their sculptures
  • Artist Donald Judd used industrial materials to create his sculptures such as plexiglas, aluminium, and rolled steel. ‘Judd placed his work in a continue with the mass-produced commodity as opposed to the history of sculpture. The artist used drawing to work out structure, proportion and spatial relationships’.
  • Drawing played a more essential role in the work of artist Dan Flavin. (pg 4)
  • Flavin drew constantly for various reasons: ‘to notate an idea or create working drawings for artworks in other media, make quick renderings of nature, to executer finish presentation drawings for sale and to commission ‘final finished diagrams”’.
  • Flavin used common materials such as ballpoint pen and office paper to sketch and document possible arrangements for site-specific installations.
  • He saved and dated each of his drawings in order to record the sequence in which they were made.
  • His ‘Four Drawings for the John Weber Gallery’ are working drawings. Flavin described these drawings as “impetuous marks, sudden summary jottings… those of a kind of intimate, idiosyncratic, synoptic shorthand. These four drawings were produced over the course of a week – idea for labour intensive drawing that I know comes up in part 4.
  • ‘Memos run all over the pages, supplying information such as colour, location and dimensions’. (pg 5)
  • One of Flavin’s drawings includes a series of dedications to friends. It was common to find personal dedications in Flavins work, referring not only to friends but historical figures and political events too.
  • The inclusion of these personal notes lends Flavin’s work a poetic and political dimension not normally associated with the technical, industrial style of minimalism. – I wonder if then his work may fall under 2 categories of minimalism and conceptual art

Conceptual / Experimental (pg 5)

  • Artist Carl Andre rejected a conceptual label for his practice, framing it as overtly materialist.
  • “My idea of a piece of sculpture is a road. That is, a road doesn’t reveal itself at any particular point or from any particular point. . . . Most of my works—certainly the successful ones—have been ones that are in a way causeways—they cause you to make your way along them or around them or to move the spectator over them.”
  • An Andre floor sculpture is intended to provide a phenomenological encounter, extending into and articulating its surroundings; viewers can stand on top of and move across his horizontal works and not see them, experiencing a given piece through a tactile rather than an optical relationship.
  • He attempted to work against the static properties of drawing in order to convey both the conceptual simplicity and the perceptual complexity of the sculptural work to which it relates.
  • Working on graph paper, he registered his idea for a floor sculpture as both a square and a rectangle made up of repeated rectangular units. In two adjacent grids he filled the regimented squares of the paper with handwritten letters that spell out the words lock and blue. Written in all caps, the letters run in multiple directions, suggesting manifold views—the viewer is compelled not only to read across the grids but also to turn the sheet around to view it from diverse vantage points.
  • Richard Serra grappled with he disjunction between the fixed nature of the predatory sketch and the physical experience of his large-scale sculptural work in space and time. (pg 7)
  • Sculptors who work from drawings, depictions, illustrations, are more than likely removed from the working process with materials and construction.” – I agree. Surely you are disconnected from working with the materials as you are focusing on making the final result. Something I struggled with when I started on the sculpture course. I enjoy the journey/process a lot more. I don’t like to plan.
  • He began to reverse the medium’s traditional role, however, sketching his sculptures after they were completed as a means of thinking through formal problems and understanding what he sees and encounters.
  • While photographs of the sculpture fulfill the roles of documentation and dissemination, Serra’s drawing performs another functions, that if separating his physical experience of the piece on-site. (pg 8)
  • The actions of the hand, its movement and pressure, are visible and felt on the surface of the paper
  • Serra’s physically expressive and gestural drawing works to destabilise the aggressive character of his monumental sculptural practice.

Prescribed procedures / Amorphous Results

  • Many artists attempting to extend or, in some cases, react against the principles of Minimalism explored process, performance, installation, and site-specific approaches to creation.
  • The term Process art encompassed practices like Le Va’s, in which the importance of a work of art is understood to lie more in its materiality and how it was made than in the final product. Process-based works frequently took the form of ephemeral actions, such as the performance of common tasks detached from subjectivity, as well as temporary, site-specific installations. YESSSSS (pg 9)
  • In 1966 Le Va began producing his distribution pieces, floor-based installations that rejected traditional notions of a strictly ordered composition. These works exploited the properties of everyday materials—felt, chalk, flour, broken glass, mineral oil, iron oxide
  • He drew “to be alone with myself,” “to discover and clarify my thoughts,” “to visualize my thoughts,” and “to convince myself some thoughts are worth pursuing.” – a silent decision making process
  • one can detect a sense of disegno in his conception of drawing— that is, a projective and idealist belief in the medium as uniquely capable of revealing the artist’s mind at work and exposing the mechanism of the creative process.

Disegno – carries a complex meaning in art involving both the ability to make the drawing and the intellectual capacity to invent the design

  • Wash, complicates the romantic idea of drawing as an unmediated reflection of the mind of an individual as registered throughout the autographic mark.
  • Accidental appearance and unstable dispersal of materials. (pg 10)
  • revealing the predetermined nature of the overall arrangement of the work. Orderly and precise in process and appearance, works on paper enact a reversal of the traditional understanding of drawing as a flexible site for spontaneous creation. spontaneity is ultimately deferred onto the unfolding of events occurring in the space of the gallery itself.
  • Wash exemplifies the tension between the random and the orderly
  • La Va frequently used graph paper for the transfer of ideas into form.
  • As the artist Mel Bochner reasoned, “graph paper reduces the tedious aspects of drawing, and permits the easy and immediate alignment of random thoughts into conventionalized patterns of reading and forming.”
  • Le Va cut up the uniform graph paper into random shapes, repositioned the fragments atop a sheet of white paper, and connected the pieces through a series of colorful stains made using red, black, and gray ink.
  • William Anastasi’s subway drawings engage a similar process-driven dynamic— highly prescribed yet open to unforeseen occurrences—while reflecting a very different intention from the deliberate, diagrammatic approach employed by Le Va. (again gestural but less deliberate) (pg 11)
  • Late 1960’s series of “unsighted” works—blind drawings, pocket drawings, and subway drawings—as means of abdicating (standing down/ letting go of control)  rather than establishing control by submitting the graphic process to chance.
  • To create his ongoing series of subway drawings, he sits on a subway train, places a sheet of paper on a board on his lap, takes a pencil in each hand, rests the points on the paper, closes his eyes, dons headphones to block out all ambient sound, and lets the movement of his body in transit determine the composition of each work.
  • Point A to B. Its finished when he gets off the train
  • By drawing bling and incorporating chance, Anastasi subverts the tradition of drawing as a synthesis of vision, knowledge, and manual skill. (pg 12)
  • the artist places his focus squarely on phenomenology. Phenomenological impact became a key aspect in some strains of Minimalist sculptural production in the late 1960s
  • These artists often forced the spectator’s body into a confrontation with an object or a visual field, forcing viewers to become conscious of their own processes of perception
  • With Anastasi’s more modest drawings, it is not the spectator’s active experience but that of the artist himself
  • His body becomes a key instrument in the overall performance. An implement that absorbs and records motion
  • Performance and as records of Anastasi’s travels across New York.

Rational / Anti-Rational

  • Sol LeWitt: “If the artist carries through his idea and makes it into visible form, then all the steps in the process are of importance. The idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any other aesthetic product. All intervening steps—scribbles, sketches, drawings, failed works, models, studies, thoughts, conversations—are of interest.” (pg 13)
  • The cubes are drawn in isometric perspective on a hand-drawn grid. The use of the grid emphasizes the uniformity of the cubes. The grid and the technical rendering five the appearance of an ordered sequence intended to provide objective visual information (pg 14)
  • Eva Hesse also probed the relationship between order and disorder (pg 15)
  • By 1966 Hesse began making a series of drawings using black ink on graph paper. She worked with the controlled grid, but was equally interested in the potential for accident
  • “Series, serial, serial art, is another way of repeating absurdity.”
  • Her untitled drawing of 1967 is exemplary of this series of works in which the basic element of the circle is repeated over and over to fill in the form of the grid. (pg 16)
  • Embrace the geometry and repetition
  • The recurrence of the circle involved a mechanical gesture
  • Upon closer inspection, the irregularities of each circle reveal themselves
  • Diversity and variation are achieved as a result of the uneven pressure of the artists hand on the paper. This endows the drawing with a decidedly personal, tactile dimension

Minimal and conceptual drawing and its legacy

  • Although their approaches and agendas were notably distinct, all the artists were working through the fallout of a modernist vision of art and society, self-consciously rethinking and challenging established traditions of artistic practice (pg 16)
  • While attempting to move away from the emotive claims of their Abstract Expressionist predecessors, artists associated with Minimal, Postminimal, and Conceptual practices wanted to uphold the freedom of experimentation with form and materials initiated by artists such as Jackson Pollock.
  • The artists N. Dash and Jill O’Bryan, adopt a range of modernist strategies, including repetitive and serial processes as well as body and performance art (pg 17)
  • They take these strategies down markedly different paths, however, placing overt emphasis on aesthetic gratification, material exploration, and individual gesture coupled with a strong engagement with the tasks and rhythms of daily life.
  • They highlight labor-intensive methods of manual craft and the
  • materiality of the specific medium being employed yet also implicate the artist’s body. (labour exercise) (pg 18)
  • Her works appear conceptually in line
  • with Anastasi’s subway drawings in that they record the artist’s bodily movements while riding public transportation in New York, but they are created without the use of a drawing implement, revealing a desire for a more immediate connection between the maker’s hand and the materials. Dash produces these works by folding, rubbing, creasing, and refolding sheets of paper and then applying pigment (graphite or indigo powder) to them by hand in order to highlight the progressive accumulation of wrinkles and marks. (links with my scrunched up pieces – take this further into assignment 4) Her practice is based less on an exploration of automatic processes, chance occurrences, or a sublimation of the subjective self, as are Anastasi’s subway drawings, and more on an examination of the means by which bodily expression can be embedded into the support materials associated with painting, sculpture, and drawing.
  • Jill O’Bryan’s large-scale 40,000 Breaths Breathed between June 20, 2000 and March 15, 2005 also turns drawing into a recording device as the artist meticulously tracked her individual breaths over the course of five years, using only pencil marks on paper.
  • graphic patterns that emerge across O’Bryan’s large sheet are not rigid or precise but rather organic and irregular
  • The final drawing appears as nothing less than a test of endurance (labour exericse) (pg 19)
  • With its emphasis on time and repetition, the work emerges as a fragile, obsessive attempt to explore the conditions of selfhood and register something of the daily experience of art.
  • Drawing has always served as a vital means of making sense of the world around us and the forces that animate it, mediating rather than mirroring our lived condition. (pg 20)
  • It seems apt in today’s contemporary climate of ongoing upheaval and perpetual advancement of digital technologies that the desire to draw, to mark, to track is embraced by artists who, much like their historical predecessors, seek to expand the capacities for invention while working to regain a sense of human experience. – bringing back human experience – taking away/ignoring he digital age we are all in?

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