Interview by Unathi Mkonto
JRNL: What is the point of entry to your current work “Tone”?
I don’t really work like that, you know. My work is always related to something that interests me. I decided to write that little book, which provides a point of entry to the work and of sort of anchors me.
The press release for the show, Tone, makes strong associations with music: “Like music, the works reward and thwart expectations, as overlaid lines and stacked edges produce tone, timbre, volume and contrast. Each line, and each cluster of lines, embodies attack and decay, constructs echo and reverberation, harmony and dissonance.” What was the interest in music?
Music struck me as something that we’re all able to approach without relying on a narrative. We can accept something that doesn’t tell a story from point A to point B, which consists of abstract elements like tone, texture and depth. Music can allow you to do anything. I have work which has the visual equivalence to those terms. But they vary. Terms like “tone” can mean anything - colour, the way you project your voice [and so on]. In a sense it’s being overly broad.
Do people expect you to work with found materials?
When I was younger I used to make a lot of with recycled material. We project ourselves onto the world and read it as something that is projected back to us. But that’s not only what I do.
You endeavour to make objects transparent and tactile. Why?
That’s slightly unconscious to me. Someone once said that I make things that are difficult to look at. I have this desire to make screen-like objects, maybe it’s some kind of metaphor of how we look at the world. I don’t really think about it too consciously, I am happy with it and let’s see where it goes.
The work allows for different interpretations. In some ways, quite a diversion from your previous work. Do you have a system that you follow?
I approach [each series] in the same way. I have instructions that I devise and I follow them to conclusion. Sometimes those instructions are for a three dimensional object and in this body of work they have been for drawings.
To me its graphite on paper as supposed to Perspex. I appreciate someone looking at my work thinking it’s a big shift, but to me its feels like it’s still going to continue. I will be doing these kinds of drawings for another four months I think. I am not at the bottom of this idea yet.
There is a continuity in the drawings. Could you elaborate on that?
There is wonderful phrase that I came across: “Accumulated gestures”. That has some of the same characteristics as my work. It has an accumulated result that you can’t fake.
I think when people look at something with accumulated gestures, they have a bodily sense of time and concentration that went into it, whether it is a drawing or a three dimensional sculpture. It’s not right to make rules for other people. My first engagement with the world is through my sense of sight, touch and maybe other, less tangible things. I’m interested in making works of art that are interesting to engage with in reality rather than just intellectually; there is lot of freedom within that discipline.