drawing machines

Laura Splan
laurasplan.com
Documentation of charcoal drawings made with solar powered motors
(Re)Create, Hayden Lake, ID
2014 Artist-In-Residence

Footage by Stephen Reyna and Laura Splan

"Collaborations With The Sun" retools the Surrealist embrace of chance and accidental mark-making in automatic drawings. The series employs the modern technology of solar-powered devices combined with found materials. Splan created the series while in residence at (Re)Create, a primitive camping residency in Hayden Lake, Idaho. She constructed her drawing instruments by attaching found charcoal, twigs, and string to repurposed solar-powered motors. Pieces of charcoal salvaged from the previous night’s campfire were moved across paper by the motor vibrations and occasionally by the wind. The clumsy, iterative movements of the motors created abstract, gestural marks easily mistaken for those of a human hand. The chalky compositions materialize the immaterial and ephemeral forces of nature. The “collaborations” were defined by serendipity, the idiosyncrasies of the drawing instruments, as well as by the arbitrary parameters imposed by the artist. Timing, compositional rules and placement of the drawing instrumentation became the marks of the artist, while technical glitches, loss of power in shadows, and occasional tumbles on the paper became the unique gestural marks of the motorized instruments.

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