Standard Measure 

The series “Standard Measure” began with the basic idea of simply measuring a sheet of paper (A).  This initial idea immediately brought to mind the work of Marcel Duchamp.  Like his series “Standard Stoppages” my idea was totally self-referential and, as the idea developed, measurements of measurements (B) took the drawings into a totally new realm.  






To this framework of lines I added another basic symbol of measure, the arc.  This broke the grid and added complexity and movement to the drawings.  The arcs define space even as they measure and reinforce a two-dimensional structure. 

The third major element is a gesture line.  This spontaneously created mark breaks with the analytical structure but remains defined by it.  In a sense this very human gesture becomes subject matter and pushes the elements into a sort of portraiture. 

With these simple components I am building complex drawings which become even more complex through selective erasure.  Removing lines is almost as tangible a process as making lines.  The element of “time” is added to the mix as lines change position and order during the editing process.  I place lines down in an order that defines time and space relationships on the page at a particular moment.  However, a paradox exists. The paradox is that time and space refer only to themselves and that the work often contains discrepancies and irregularities.  In the process of removing some lines, connections are broken, creating “that which is not measured”, complicating and compromising the validity and logic of the lines.  By simultaneously creating and destroying lines I weave together a precarious image of impermanence that’s very existence seems to be drawn on gossamer film. 

All of the drawing takes place on a prepared surface.  The raw, heavy paper is made more material with thin washes of acrylic paint and textures picked up from the studio floor during the painting process.  This painted paper with its subtle tonal changes sets the stage for the drawing that follows. 

In the finished work the elements combine into a result that is a coherent record of a dynamic event, at once logical and yet born from spontaneity and impulse. 

Darrell Nettles, NYC, 6-1-02                              BACK            HOME