I have been working with a typewriter, making drawings for nearly sixteen years. During that time I have developed marks that are my visual language: a drawing language ‘written’ by type, and a written language drawn as mark and form.
I began drawing out of the need to communicate, to find my own language. I was looking for a way to record my thoughts and ideas. So I began writing with a typewriter, a tool that could keep up with my thoughts. However, I employed no rules of the written language: no capitalization, no punctuation, no paragraphs. The writing slowly transformed, initially into a language of patterns and grids formed by typing punctuation marks; the words left the page and what remained has become my language: drawing.
An early question raised: are these images details of something much larger than what is seen on the 8 ½” x11” page or were these full scale landscapes as seen from the sky above? I like the idea that the images typed could hover between these two spaces/places; this question is a lasting provocation.
In 2003 I worked on an organic farm. Driving a Kubota tractor, making marks in the earth, patterns much the way I had with the typewriter, was a liberating experience in how I think about making drawings. To have spent time considering the space and the landscape of my typed drawings and imagine what they would be like as forms in the landscape and suddenly to be drawing across twenty-five acres made sense to me. The drawing plane had opened enormously. The marks in the earth to prepare the soil was one drawing, the seeds being dropped in another and then to see the plants sprout into colorful marks on such a seemingly vast page of surface and time has remained with me. That experience allowed me to think broadly about drawing, to the possibilities of mark-making. There are no limitations to drawing in my mind, and it is with this notion of the expanded field, literally and rhetorically, that I continue exploring the drawn mark.
Artist Bio / CV
Allyson Strafella has exhibited her work in many venues that include the Drawing Center, The Aldrich Museum, Museuo De Arte Contemporaneo, and Dieu Donne.
She was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002 in addition to receiving grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation and NYFA. She has been an artist-in-residence at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Skowhegan and the Fine Arts Work Center. Her work has been included in recent publications such as 560 Broadway: A New York Drawing Collection at Work, 1991-2006, the Swedish
literary journal OEI, and New York, New drawings 1946-200. Her work is in the collections of several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Yale Art Museum and The Hammer Museum amongst several others.She received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.