Series – Ambiguity

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘Twenty Two drawings made between 20 August 2005 and 31 August 2005.


The ambiguity in ‘Twenty Two drawings made between 20 August 2005 and 31 August 2005’ rests in their ability to make the viewer unsure of their content or intention and intrigued by their presence.  To explain them risks losing that ambiguity and their mystery.

I draw, make marks, in order to understand.  These drawings, superficially, are of a small hole in the wall of my studio.  The wall is immensely thick – the hole itself stuffed with stones – and a walkway for mice and possibly rats.  I never actually see them, only their residues and hear them at night when their nocturnal noises keep me awake.  They make marks in the dust, shift fragments of stone, change the contours; creating their own drawings. Potentially this hole is a scary place.  I look in, they look out.  The hole assumes immense proportions in my life.  I draw it repeatedly, over and over again, observing it, its lines, its forms, its colours, its tones.  My relationship with it is ambiguous, even writing about the process, hole and drawing seem interchangeable. I rub it out, damage it with bits of stone and broken roof tile, add water, graphite, stone dust, ground pigment. I try to obliterate it completely but still it re-emerges. It is a battle and I have lost track of whether the battle is with these creatures of the night, the hole in the wall, the drawings themselves or with the idea in my head.  I move away and stop looking at it.  I draw with my eyes closed out in the open air.  Still the hole emerges on the paper, the authority of its lines taking over the white surface.  I draw with my left hand in order to take the hole by surprise as if altering my signature as a child does.  It is still recognisably my handwriting.  It is still recognisably the hole in the wall.   I finally discover through the process of drawing that the hole has become a vessel; internal organs; a series of draped veils masking an opening. It has become itself.  I stop being frightened of it, the creatures stop running around the walls in the night, I sleep again and the hole returns to what it was originally, a hole in the wall of the studio, and its conversation, its argument, with line and tone, graphite and paper and bits of stone is resolved. All that remains is a series of drawings; I think, and the idea in my head.

The form of the drawings is compact, about the same size as the hole, and in the nature of a diary.  The size makes them portable which the hole is not.  The graphite feels like dust, but is not, and the stones used as rubbers, which they aren’t, were originally part of the fabric of the building.

©  Fiona Robinson

First published as part of the TRACEY Research Programme at Loughborough University, 2006 on the theme of Ambiguity.

The initial submission was made in the form of the drawings alone.  However they subsequently asked for 500 words of text to accompany the drawings.