Gerri Rachins on her “In Between” Series:
During recent years, I have been creating large drawings on paper that range in size from approximately four feet to ten feet high. These drawings were motivated by personal situations that necessitated both moving to a temporary studio without the availability of my usual art-making materials, and investigating a new way of making drawings without having to physically hold a pencil in my hand.
I created a “drawing assistant” made from found objects including a large stainless steel cooking spoon, numerous colorful hair accessories known as “scrunchies”, an antique wooden rolling pin that belonged to my maternal grandmother, and some chain. I hung the chain from the ceiling to approximately five feet and two inches above the floor. (That is equivalent to my body height.) Hair “scrunchies” were looped together at the bottom of the chain to connect the wooden rolling pin that was positioned horizontally, and then weight balanced. Another group of “scrunchies were looped together to hang from the center of the rolling pin, to the top of a large steel cooking spoon that hung about six to seven inches above the floor. (The approximate size of a drawing utensil.) Tape was used to attach various pencils, graphite sticks, and other assorted mark-making tools to the bottom of the spoon. A piece of drawing paper was particularly placed on the floor, ready and waiting to receive a variety of surface marks from the “drawing assistant”. With the physical force of my hands, arms, shoulders, and body, I propelled the chain to swing in a certain manner. I intended the graphite, markers, and color pencils connected to the spoon to consequently mark the surface of the paper corresponding to the direction and force of the swing.
Initially I thought that the drawings would result in an accretion of very chaotic marks. However, the process revealed the presence of invisible structures that were governed by universal forces related to gravity and motion. The realization that I could work with, and include these forces as partners in future drawings stimulated me to continue investigating making new work in this manner.
As the drawing process has evolved in time, so have my thoughts about the conceptual content of the work.
These drawings are about the “in-between”…
my teaching and my studio practice,
the drawing process and the manifested image,
form and formlessness,
energy and matter,
my inhale and my exhale,
my first breath and my last.
Title: Centrifuge. Date: 2008-2010. Format/Materials: Graphite on Stonehenge paper. Dimensions: 50 inches H x 38 inches W. Picture Credit: Artist.