The Paris Review Daily

Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Sylvia Plath’s Sketches

June 12, 2012 | by

Those of us who weren't able to visit the exhibition of Sylvia Plath’s drawings on view at London’s Mayor Gallery in November may take some comfort in The Telegraph’s comprehensive slide show of the poet’s pen-and ink work. The delicacy and precision of her execution will come as no surprise to fans of Plath’s writing; her mastery of the medium may. Do look at the whole gallery, but below, find just a few demonstrating the range of her subjects.

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Family Matters: Alison Bechdel on ‘Are You My Mother?’

May 9, 2012 | by

Alison Bechdel’s first graphic memoir, Fun Home , told the story of her small-town Pennsylvania childhood, which was dominated by her often tyrannical father. An obsessive home restorer and closeted homosexual, he died a possible suicide just as his college-age daughter was coming out as a lesbian. Six years after Fun Home, Bechdel has published a second memoir in comics form, Are You My Mother? , but it’s more than simply the maternal counterpart to its predecessor. Thrillingly discursive, it’s framed by the artist’s struggle to create Fun Home and broker her mother’s acceptance of its public unearthing of family secrets. Bechdel recounts episodes from her romantic relationships, her beginnings as the cartoonist of the long running Dykes to Watch Out For strip, and her struggles, through fruitful years of psychotherapy, to come to terms with her sometimes difficult relationship with her mother. (The book may be one of the truest accounts of what it’s like to be on the therapist’s couch today.) Throughout, Bechdel plumbs the life and writings of Donald Winnicott, the British psychoanalyst who pioneered the field of object relations and stressed the importance of early mother and child bonding. Over lunch at New York’s Via Emilia, Bechdel confessed her childhood affection for “silly children’s comics like Little Lulu and Richie Rich,” which shows in the clarity and warmth of her artwork.

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Terry Winters

April 10, 2012 | by

Terry Winters works on the fifth floor of a Tribeca walk-up. It is a steep climb, but the space is serene and open, decorated with a few large Nigerian ceramics, a framed Weegee photograph, and of course Winters’s own drawings and watercolors (he does his oil painting in a studio in the country). It is also remarkably free of clutter for an artist who describes himself as an “image junky.” Winters spends a lot of time here—“I try to show up for the job,” he remarks when I ask him about his daily practice—though he does not have much by way of routine, allowing the needs of the project to shape his day.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Winters’s first solo show at the Sonnabend Gallery. Now represented by Matthew Marks, Winters’s work continues to be informed by the ideas that animated his very first exhibition. One constant—besides his New York studio, where he has worked from the very start of his career—has been his use of found images, which he faithfully collects and assembles into collages that serve as miniature laboratories for future paintings. But the collages, with their layers and juxtapositions, their invocation of modern technology (several feature visible URLs, linking to universities and laboratories) and natural forms, are also lovely in their own right. Read More »

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The Summer Issue: Matteo Pericoli

June 20, 2011 | by

Matteo Pericoli, whose illustration “A view from 62 White Street” is our summer issue’s cover, has worked as an architect, illustrator, author, journalist, and teacher. He is the author, most recently, of The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York. I caught up with him at last week’s launch party to ask him a few questions about the cover.

Can you describe your approach to work?

I like to think that lines and words have much more in common than one would instinctively think. So in the drawings that I do, I try to choose the best possible lines, the most efficient, the most essential. Not just my drawings but line drawings in general are ways to tell stories, not just visual representations.

Tell me about this drawing.

One thing of course is that it’s Lorin [Stein]’s view; one is that it has shutters, which are not very common in the city. What’s interesting is point of view: It’s only here. It’s nowhere else, and there’s nowhere else like it. I don’t look for any aesthetically interesting composition. I don’t see beauty, I see narrative.

You have drawn a great deal in New York, which seems like a place full of narrative, but not one that necessarily gives of itself easily.

First and foremost, there is always what people perceive of a place. And once there is a shared agreement about a place, a city gives itself easily, as you say. It takes a long time to get to the innermost reaches of a place. When I started drawing in 1998, the first drawings I made were all about the island and the outermost viewpoints. I would ride the Circle Line. I was an alien. I got to know the exterior before I began to draw the innermost.

And in 2001, when Manhattan Unfurled came out, right after 9/11, I was thinking about skylines, cities.

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Mirjam Jacob

March 31, 2011 | by

Untitled, 2010, crayon on paper and collage.

Every time I get to know something new, it becomes a part of me. It also becomes part of my work, although I am not always aware of it. Whenever I see something that appeals to me, something that I like a lot, it instantly becomes familiar, as if it has always had a place deep inside me, and just needed a bit of light to shine on it and make it visible. The topic of my work is often somewhere between isolation and loneliness and vitality. This is how I would describe my pictures retrospectively, because while I am working on them, I do not know what will happen.

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Lynda Barry on ‘Picture This’

December 1, 2010 | by

Lynda Barry is many things: a cartoonist, best known for her long-running strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek; the author of two illustrated novels, Cruddy and The Good Times Are Killing Me; and the sought-after instructor of the workshop “Writing the Unthinkable.” In her two memoir-cum-workbooks—2008’s What It Is and Picture This, published last month by Drawn & Quarterly—Barry puts her many talents into play. The books’ dense collages, lively cartoons, and hand-drawn text use autobiographical tidbits and philosophical flights of fancy to explore the creative impulse, asking such questions as What is an image? and Why do we stop drawing? Barry, a friend of Matt Groening’s since their days at the Evergreen State College in the seventies, agreed to meet me for breakfast, where we talked art, writing, and cigarettes.

One of the themes of Picture This is forgetting in order to remember, which seems pretty counterintuitive. When you combine it with Don’t—the name of the cigarettes, which are a running gag throughout—the meaning of the lines becomes very contradictory.

Forget to remember to forget to remember, or remember to forget to remember to forget. Yeah, it just makes your brain go uuuuuuuhhh. That’s exactly what I wanted: to get to the point where you realize you don’t know what you’re looking at. Plus, it’s fun coming up with slogans. “What would you do for a don’t?” “Don’t consider it.”

I stumbled on these magazines called Grade Teacher, which were sent to grade-school teachers every month, and I have a pile of them from the late twenties to the sixties. They have stuff like “Fun Things to Draw” or “Let’s Do Our Bulletin Board.” But the big ad sponsorship is from coal companies and asbestos companies: “Free giant charts for your class about how wonderful coal is!” The weirdest things are the art projects with asbestos powder, like “Lets make beads and make necklaces and wear them.” I am not joking.

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