cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

I’ve blogged in the past about working collaboratively with Claire Thorson.  We’ve done many drawings together as well as some paintings, working from the model.

We’re very excited to be showing two of our collaborative drawings at an upcoming show at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  You can see one of them on their website: just click on the screenshot below… (and then come to the show!)

Barbara Downs announcement for The Drawing Salon exhibition

The Drawing Salon

January 20th – March 10th, 2013
Reception: Sunday, February 10th, 3-5PM
Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery
Cowell College, UCSC

Here’s our statement for the show:

In addition to the work we do individually, we have been working collaboratively for some years now. In the beginning, we worked alternately on pieces, as many collaborators do, but now we work on the same piece together, at the same time, side by side.

There are no rules: decisions or marks made by one person may be—and often are—immediately altered or erased by the other.  In a fluid and dynamic process, we change sides, step back to look, call to each other to correct an area whose fault can only be seen from a distance, try to protect a favorite line or tonal area and then most likely let it go.

Sometimes we agree.  Sometimes we struggle.  We may pursue dissimilar directions, wrestle with each other through the charcoal, chalk and paint.  Working together may trigger a conflict of interest—drawing is, after all, a very personal endeavor.

But in spite of or because of the intensity we share, a drawing comes together from our combined work at the easel. And the endpoint of the drawing, while often surprising, is almost always mutually understood.  Our most successful drawings blend our two visions seamlessly, and though we may recognize a mark or a passage that belongs to one or the other, the overall piece is something neither of us would have arrived at on our own.

By working together and embracing the unpredictable outcomes, the possibilities of making an image are somehow multiplied by more than a factor of two.  The collaborative process opens new vistas and directions that each of us can take to our own work, and the work we do together stands on its own accord. — Claire Thorson and Barbara Downs