Draw a line and follow it

A series of conceptual drawings with pen and ink on paper, 2020


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"Aura Drawings"

"Modular Drawings"

"Wall Drawings"

"Other Conceptual Works Derived From This Idea"

"Bed Bath and Breakfast (video)"

The main idea for this series of drawings is to relinquish subjective intentionality by following a simple rule, and to allow chance to introduce unexpected variations, so as to unleash the potential of the process. The process is simple: I first generate some random patterns on the paper by splashing liquid, or tearing a part of the paper. Then I carefully trace the edges of the stain or the tear. This produces the first line (or group of lines.) Next, I try to copy the first line as faithfully as I can, focusing on replicating its formal and energetic tendencies. Variations introduced by accidents become part of the lines to be copied in the next iteration. I repeat this process, WITHOUT further aesthetic judgement otherwise, until the lines reach the four edges of the paper, or I decide to stop.

The process seems to serially amplify the tendencies in the line. Very often, it acquires a feeling as in a meditation. The resulted images sometimes resemble tree rings, or bodies of water, or mountainous terrains. Most of them carry a feeling of a record of the passing time. Indeed, the time passing during the drawing process is acutely felt since each iteration of the lines takes on average 15 minutes to draw. And despite the relatively small size of these drawings, their scale feels vast. Sometimes it feels like the lines together ‘manifest’ an otherwise invisible energetic field on the paper.

The various experiments with this idea have taken me to different directions. In addition to the drawings based on the process described above, there are several other directions including:

* The Aura Drawings: the initial contour is a recognizable image. The drawing ‘grows’ as its aura.
* The Modular Drawings: Several ‘modules’ are first established with the initial boundaries. Then within each module, the same drawing process takes place.
* Other conceptual derivatives.


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[These drawings and their prints are for sale.  Contact me directly if interested: mz-art@michaelzheng.org.]


* The de Young Open at de Young Museum, San Francisco, October 2020 - Jauary 2021
* OSTEN Biennial of Drawing Skopje 2020, National Gallery of N. Macedonia Cifte Hamam, N. Macedonia, Oct - Dec, 2020