by Gabriella Solti
Catch I, india ink on paper, 60″ (W) x 98″ (H), 2011
Photo: Andy Jenkins
Catch I is part of a series of unique ink drawings: the traces and outlines of a salvaged salmon fishing net, a dense entanglement of lines as a result of multiple imprints. I repeatedly threw the net over the paper always with a clear visual intent just as a fisherman casts his net in the water strategically aiming for the highest yield of catch. However my process implies I can’t control the outcome in every detail. I can’t possibly know how exactly the net will land on the paper and what will happen in particular when I burnish the lines by hand under another sheet of paper. There is a gap between intention and outcome which reveals intriguing interplay between intentional and chance composition. I find it liberating to know that I can’t fully control my process which leaves ample room for surprise and diversity in the work. An accidental slip of the net from my hands made me discover new ways of markmaking thus chance led to purposeful experiments. When I form a dense ball in my palms from a small piece of the fishing net and let it fall, it gently opens in the air and leaves a myriad of delicate, circular, tiny lines when it lands on the paper. But how tight or airy those lines become depends on the height from which the ball was dropped. With the repeated use of this process from varied heights, there is no limit of creating any kind of shapes in an infinite variety of grey.
In the last couple of years I mostly created fine press artist books which required meticulous planning, the mastery of highly technical processes, and utmost precision without leaving anything for chance, surprise and spontaneity in the process. My current work of using found objects as drawing tools is an antidote of the working method of fine press printers. I am freed from the long process of meticulous planning and the expectation of a preconceived ideal of perfection. I truly enjoy the spontaneity and immediacy embedded in indexical drawing and the performative and durational aspect of working on large scale.
I am interested in using objects as drawing tools that are charged with cultural, political, social or environmental history. These objects with their built-in complexity encompass the potential to expand my work beyond recording their physicality and substance.