Alison Russell: Drifted

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Alison Russell: Drifted

Dreams drifted me off
Reality left behind
Endless freedom found
(Demetrius Trifiatis)

My drawings are created without directed thought or language. They roam, wander, twist and turn. Starting with random mark marking, they take on a momentum of their own until semblances of images emerge. I use techniques as starting points to stimulate imagery from the subconscious mind. Continuous line drawing and doodling can encourage meandering thoughts from which to build. Combining ink, water and salt enables transformations of found shapes and structures. Erasing graphite, ink and pastel marks with rubbers or water (if using yupo paper) leaves ghost prints to further develop. I see lines and I follow them; marks take on forms and I explore them as they lead me on an intuitive, meditative journey. With the accompaniment of music, a euphoric trance-like state can be reached.

Rotation of the paper while working is an integral part of the process, forcing the eye to see in other ways. Numerous configurations in which to view diptychs and triptychs are possible. Which way is up? The excitement of resolving struggles to enable the work to reveal itself is addictive.

The consistent subject matter in my imaginary landscapes is triggered by an enduring fascination with textures, patterns and life forms in the natural world. Although I don’t draw directly from nature or use references to create the works, these worlds run parallel with my art. Ambiguous macro scenes suggest forests, subterranean and underwater worlds. Soft, curved biomorphic forms merge internal and external worlds.

Drawing has become my passion. As I come from a printmaking background where planned and controlled processes were required, it has been liberating to relinquish rigid methods and embrace spontaneous exploration.

The works in this exhibition were made during the pandemic. As I worked on my art, my art worked on me as a therapy, providing comfort in times of stress and anxiety. I invite the viewer to engage with these works – to drift, dream, meditate and escape.