Ink, calligraphy paper, silk scroll mount
48*210cm, set of 4
Zhanjiang, China | 2016
I love Chinese calligraphy and ink painting, and I learnt a fair amount during my time in the country. Studying the language I have always been aware of my inherent handicap, having only started in my early 30's. As might be expected, in Chinese education culture a great deal of time is spent practicing how to write the many characters, and this is done using gridworked paper specifically for this purpose. Since the advent of advanced computing most communication is digital and so, along with many young Chinese, I have never really learnt to write - never mind produce beautiful, expressive and unique calligraphy! Feeling that I did not want to compete against the masters of this art form, I also wanted to explore using ink, a brush and this gridwork calligraphy practice paper. I became intrigued by the most elemental of marks that an unlearned novice like me could make the same as the masters: the dot. I was interested in the tension of this mark, the time spent in contact with the paper, the drip, and the mix of ink to water. Chinese characters are based around the square, and writing is directed from the centre outwards, and so I focussed on this process. Considering the planting of rice in gridwork patterns in the fields, I spent many hours meditatively building up layers of ink dots. Working in this way I would watch the droplet mark 'grow' which reminded me of things from nature like microscopic bacteria, flowers or huge cosmic explosions.