hannah downing
fine art

studies on looking

On looking was initially a working title given to multiple fragments of forms and ideas that came out of time spent in Venice as part of Wales at Venice's Invigilator Plus Programme. We were given time to spend developing a personal project, for which I concentrated on the act of looking:

"Some works of art are stared into from a distance as if there was an invisible barrier, some are scrutinised and hunched over, or maybe demand participation. Some make time seem slower and others will make quietness happen. This collection of work is made with the intention of looking at the way that art is viewed and navigated. My interest lies in what defines an implied edge or territory and how it is responded to by people. How this edge defines the spaces in-between and visa versa. The work considers the space of the blank page or white canvas – suggesting a form or a shape by introducing elements of realism – but not quite enough to make it a fully understood or described space. As a contemplation and a working method, the blank page is compared to a void, infinity, something not understood or a silence, which is defined by the stuff it meets at its edges."

Studies on looking is the main piece of work that I have completed thus far based on these ideas. The series consists of 40 pencil drawings measuring 10 inches square. Each drawing is derived from imagery taken at the Venice Biennale in 2011. They depict various scenes of people looking at artwork in exhibition spaces, studies of the act of 'professional looking'. Only the people are depicted, placed within a blank page space. It contemplates viewing as its subject – perhaps viewing as performance. It is about the un-drawn blank space which inherits a scale and perhaps a shape from the reaction of the depicted people. Perhaps reaction not as response, but as a means to construct the shape of a situation.

The work was shown at the Zacheta gallery in Warsaw in December 2011 as part of a show called "No, No, I hardly Ever Miss a Show".

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