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Back in March 2020, faced with working from home for a while, I had the urge to make some representations of objects. It's an odd list of items; a couple of buckets, an imaginary pile of breeze blocks, the Olduvai hand axe, a jug, some street fencing, a piece of sea-worn concrete, a used balloon, condom, envelope... The list is continuing but at it's own pace, wild and ungoverned.I'm full of doubt and wondering if impulses should be trusted at all.

Representation tends to hold authority and domination over things, it can subjugate the object in a reduced form for the purpose of narrative or symbol; reductive nouns and images attaching themselves to objects, a shortcutting our sensory experience of the world. For me representation was for a long time a “not seeing” of things in them selves, as vibration of matter, but it doesn’t have to be the case, now I need to deal with things, to image them, to slow down the looking, as they seem to be the measure of us.


I cut in shadows with ink slowly realising an image. I can’t go back, each mark is absorbed and permanent. I am literally avoiding the light, groping in the shadows, carving out an illusion of the form as if I were touching the object.

I’m struggling to know where I’m going, I don’t think it matters, and I don’t want to rationalise it. I can’t say now where it is going I just have to trust.

Most of the time I feel like I am lost in a vast ocean. I wonder if it is the same for every artist or maybe we deal with the predicament of being out at sea very differently. I am swimming, sometimes drowning, feeling for things in the darkness. Are there unexplored horizons or just nothing? It is 23 years since I started drawing with + and -, forming imaginary light in the darkness. They are my ‘anchor’ but perhaps not any more… I say this because now, not having made a representative image for 23 years, I draw a bucket and it feels like I have been tossed ashore. Well, at least I’m not drowning.


As I draw I hear the handle as it drops, the slight delay and screech / scraw as the pivot ring, thin and bent inwards slightly, impinges on its gravitational decent, just before the clatter as the 'where I held' now touches its own body... it's speaking, still, ungrounded.

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 © 2018 Frances Richardson 

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