It’s Complicated: Harriet Livathinos Solo show at WAAM (Woodstock Artists Association and Museum) March 8 through April 6, 2014
Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, 28 Tinker Street, Woodstock.
Life is full of joy and complications, and so is the process of making art. Four years ago I left representational painting and jumped headfirst into the practice of abstract drawing. From the starting point of drawing from the subconscious (blind drawing) and the utter joy of mark making, to compositional, linear, and spatial concerns, I was hooked.
Using line, I’ve been exploring the use of formal elements to serve expressive purposes by investigating air, density, and depth, keeping in mind the qualities of various line weights and transparent overlay and interlacing of shapes. I concentrated on using graphite, conte and pastels on a variety of surfaces–including watercolor paper, handmade paper, graph paper, sandpaper, and cardboard, using a multitude of implements including erasers and stumps, screens, thread, and typewriter, occasionally puncturing the surface with an awl.
Two years ago, I discovered the power of the use of colored ink. Full strength, its colors are intense and dense, but the addition of water can coax exceptional delicacy. Its affinity for transparent layering and interlacing of shapes makes it possible to express both the tangible and intangible. This medium’s dramatic potential allows for forceful expositions of propulsion, collision, ascension and free fall, as well as the subtleties of vast aerial perspective. I mix the colored inks and apply them with Japanese and watercolor brushes, stencil and fan brushes, bamboo and glass pens, wide nib and crow quill pens, twigs, sponges, feathers and combs. Thus far, the surfaces I’ve used for inks are pastel and printmaking papers, vellum, Mylar drafting film, and Yupo plastic paper.
Some drawings in this exhibition are done with dry pigment, some with wet, and I’m beginning to employ both together for particular expressive effects. It’s the endless opportunity for surprise and invention that brings me joy–and the efforts to solve my self-imposed problems and bring the drawing to maturity that make it complicated.
This promises to be an interesting show and talk. For the past three years as a WAAM Board member, Harriet was the Chair of the hard-working all volunteer WAAM Exhibition Committee, with responsibility for the hanging of 18 shows annually plus providing outside jurors for each of these shows plus jurors for the Solo show and the Annual Woodstock Regional, now in its 6th year. (Llyn Towner)