Harriet Livathinos Statement
My deep involvement in abstract drawing involves employing graphite, conte, pastels, graphite powder and ink on a variety of surfaces–paper, including graph paper and sandpaper, canvas and burlap, using a variety of implements from twigs to typewriter. I have become increasingly aware of the importance of the persistence of line. The language of drawing not only speaks on its own, but also forms the skeletons, textures and energy in my paintings and prints. Everywhere I look, I see line, and recent employment of automatic drawing has brought forth masses of lines from my subconscious, ripe for harvest.
Thus far, my drawing has focused on the raw energy of line, and its use in creating variety and complexity in spatial elements. I’m investigating air, density and depth, the qualities of varied line weights, and the enchanting overlay and interlacing of shapes line can potentially achieve. In general, I’m exploring the use of formal elements to serve expressive purposes.
In this current work, I am intrigued by the opportunities afforded by ink to express what is difficult to say in other media. The fact that it is a flowing medium that can be poured, dripped, splattered, blotted, or directed, gives me an intuitive vocabulary rich in emotional potential for examining the subconscious. Ink, for me, holds such potential for making varied, meaningful marks. It spreads with water, puddles and dries, forming lines impossible to get any other way. A water filled brush can coax the ink into unexplored territory, and a nearly dry brush can pull out a form in a still damp area. My need to try to express the tangible and intangible, feeling and raw energy, is assisted with ink’s affinity for transparent overlay and basic intensity.
I’ve been using and mixing colored India inks with Japanese and watercolor brushes, stencil brushes, tooth brushes, bamboo, wide nib and crow quill pens, twigs, dried flowers, sponges, Q-tips, feathers and combs. The surfaces I’ve used thus far are pastel and printmaking papers, smooth, rough and handmade, cardboard, Mylar drafting film, and Yupo plastic paper. It’s the endless opportunity for surprise and invention that I find so seductive when drawing with ink.