Only the Sun Can Prove That I Am Useful (A 16th-century Sundial Motto)
Thread / Marking Time in Different Places
The Marking Time Series (thread and shadow drawings) evolved from an unexpected moment that happened in my studio in Beacon, New York, one day in January of 2013 at 3 o’clock in the afternoon—a precise, haunting intersection of an object (thread), the sun, and white paper. Since that time I have been recording the sun’s shadow in relation to pieces of thread, as photographs and video experiments during the months of January, February and March (from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox). From this latitude/vantage point, I wait for the sun to draw delicate shadow lines in collaboration with my random placement of thread. Each piece depicts one moment in time, when the sinking winter sun creates long shadows; both thread and sun are the charcoal, ink, pencil.
Continuing my drawing explorations during the rest of the year, I have created sculptures (wood panel, paint, graphite, nails) that loosely reference early sundials. The gnomon, or pointer, is usually set at the angle of one’s geographic latitude to determine a correct reading. I have used everyday nails as gnomons, and have set them at the angle of the latitude in my studio in Beacon, New York. But instead of one pointer facing true north, I have set multiple pointers in different directions in one body of work, or, in more recent work, I have created gps graphite drawings from visiting exhibits (particularly Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Fred Sandback, and On Kawara) at DIA Beacon, the nails marking the beginning and ending of each walk.
Additional markings on the panel are an invitation, a kind of exquisite corpse for the sun to complete. My intention is not to read/record exact time, but to draw a kind of lyrical moment in time. When placed in the sun facing west in my studio, I photograph the shadows. This moment, the completed drawing, is recorded and printed on fine art paper. Each image has the latitude and longitude coordinates and time indicated as part of the drawing.
Thread and nails are ordinary objects that hold things together. Used here out of context, some initial references remain: the delicacy of thread, the force of a nail. In collaboration with the sun, a nail, continuing in space from a line, creates an implied motion: the shadow completes it. The thread, seemingly inert on a white piece of paper, becomes a kind of guitar string in motion with vibrating, energetic shadow lines.