<back The Colne: 1980  

The Colne, West Yorkshire (Multiplication)

Pencil and graphite on Arches watercolour paper.
76cms x 168cms.

The river drawings emerged from two distinct ideas. One, was a simple love of the landscape; with the metaphor of 'the river' often at its heart. And two was an ongoing - at the time - debate about 'illusion' in art.

In the late 1970s - partly borne out of the rise of abstraction, and latterly through the emergence of 'Art Povera' - there was a heated debate about both 'truth to materials', and the place of illusion in contemporary art. And I saw the river drawings as a way of both engaging in the debate about illusion in art, and subverting it.

If I depict 'the surface' of a river, on 'the surface' of some paper - where does illusion step in? The drawing is quite obviously not a river; but it is a drawing of a surface, on a surface.

And although it may have been a relatively inconsequential point that I was making; I enjoyed the fact that I could make a small 'contribution to a contentious debate' within contemporary art, by using such traditional concepts as both drawing, and landscape.