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
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