Drawing Water and The Corpse

J.M.W. Turner, from “Rivers of France”, 19th c.

Patrick Mahon, “Jaipur Water Tower”, 2011

My engagements with the subject, water, have involved using drawing as a practice that acts as a means of study and critique, and also engages with a “poetics” – of water. For the project, “Drawing Water” (Kamloops Art Gallery, 2009), I worked with community members to draw along the riverways of the community. The following was part of what I wrote about my undertaking at that time:

Linking my interest in images of natural phenomena that invoke both metaphorical and material readings with the intention of utilizing representation as a means of proposing both social and contemplative engagement, this project demonstrates the necessity for visual art that operates within community contexts on multiple levels. “Drawing Water” is ultimately intended to present art that operates across a field that joins the aesthetic and the social, and links an historical subject of expressive inquiry with present-day concerns.

Recently, I have been thinking about the practice of drawing water in conjunction with the Surrealist “exquisite corpse” game. Though perhaps now a ubiquitous ‘art’ practice, the exquisite corpse procedure enables a chance arrangement of water passages that illustrate a “body” of water – as heterogeneous, as a montage, and as emblematic of complexity.