Location Drawings

Transition Gallery, London
26 July – 17 August 2008

Locations Drawings exhibition at Transition Gallery was the final leg in an Arts Council England funded touring exhibition Scribing the Soul in 2008. I worked closely with Transition director, artist Cathy Lomax, on the content of this exhibition. The other 3 venues on the tour had shown the prints, films and installations I had made exploring consciousness, but we wanted this one to be a drawing show as I had spent a lot of time on location in a hospital drawing brain procedures.

As responses to the otherness of the messy stuff of thought and being, Aldworth’s ‘Location Drawings’ (2000-06) are indeed celebratory, the process of drawing from life in medical settings bringing a sense of wonder to these works in charcoal or acrylic ink. Pinned to the wall in a grid formation, the pattern of both modernism and medical science, they evoke both the real-time imaging that makes such delicate interventions possible, in the spread and fade of inks applied to wet paper, and the sense that beyond the meandering arteries and dark lines of bone, there is an individual life.

From Art, Consciousness and Other Intractable Problems, James Wilkes, Studio International. 15 August 2008.

The patient is wheeled in. I see a bit of blood as they insert a catheter. It floats up through the body into the brain. I draw very fast. I can see the ribs and the spine in soft translucent greys and the catheter is dancing up and up through the thorax towards the brain. I can see the teeth and the shape of the mouth. I can see the whole beautiful skull. The machine clicks and gurgles and a strange dancing forest of arteries appear – a thinking, feeling, working, living brain. The patient is taken away. I have spent the last hour looking inside her brain. I have learnt absolutely nothing about her.