• Surface Gardens: Drawing Relief

    Clark THENHAUS / Endemic, "Surface Gardens: Drawing Relief." Alice. Photo: Rives RASH.
    ann arbor MICHIGAN

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Clark THENHAUS / Endemic: The recently completed “Surface Gardens: Drawing Relief” project considers pre-digital drawing processes characterized by expressive materiality, competing formations, and non-delineated drawings as translatable compositions for surface articulation.

    The analogue drawings are composed with ink, dye, salt, water, and wax producing compositions better understood through qualities of intensity and density rather than measurable scales in which the addition of new materials to the drawing process initiates unforeseen continuities and reveals unexpected differences. The analogue compositions may be further characterized by indeterminate figuration, shifting scales, and single-plane layering that offers coexistent formations with a wider range of possible acquisitions of architectural geometry gathered not through internalized visions of ideal figures, rather through opportunistic translations.

    The drawings and shallow relief surfaces in this series may be thought of through the paradigm of a “garden”; an immersive context of heightened sensibilities offering potential grafting, pruning, trimming, wandering, and like any great garden, filled with material contradictions, internal narratives, and an assortment of curiosities. The drawings offer the possibility for conceiving something anew from them, rather than representing or delineating a known thing or telling a universal story. The relationship of the drawings with the subsequent surfaces named Alice, Helen, and Marilyn, (Alice, 1 of 3, shown here) initiates a virtual frolicking in these garden drawings as the surface becomes a kind of imposter drawing, and the drawing a kind of imposter surface. By coaxing the drawing from its paper plane, even if just a little, we can begin to see the drawing as something outside itself, yet still closely related. The namesakes draw reference from women of history who may be characterized, either fictionally, mythically, or actually, by imposter qualities or affinities for garden secrets. However, these are not metaphors for the work, rather serve as personified musings through which to, simply, wonder/wander and associate. The drawings and surfaces as “garden” invite one in to snoop around, inciting renewed forms of visual engagement on the small scale.

    “Surface Gardens: Drawing Relief” considers the possibilities of an expanded palette of analogue and digital partnership, though the ambition is not to over-intellectualize this process. Rather, the ambitions have more to do with a desire for visual and tactile engagement while provoking one’s own internal readings and narratives over a manufactured universal meaning. This work aims for a middle out approach through material synthesis with digital analysis as combinatory “Drawdles” or “Drobjects” taking up space somewhere between a drawing and a model or object. The Drawdles/Drobjects are an opportunistic intervening between the unplanned and uncontrolled of the drawing with the technical and intentional of the digital. The Drawdles/Drobjects thus problematize translational processes within a broad range of possible outcomes.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    CT: Garden things, texture, color, visual culture.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    CT: Reading: Geek Love, Top Secret Tourism, and architecture books. Listening to: Gramatik, The Paper Kites.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    CT: The elders of architecture, the youth of art.

    Additional credits and links:

    Drawing and Surface Objects: Endemic (Clark Thenhaus)
    Fabrication and Finishing: Rash LLC. (Rives Rash)
    Visit Rash, LLC. at: []
    Photography: Courtesy Rives Rash

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