It's too bad George Bush and his gang gave the expression, "turned the corner," such a bad rep, because it's an apt description for what happened in the studio today. If the infrequency of my posts hasn't clued you in, then let me tell you explicitly that this commission has been eating my lunch. Kind of.
There are lots of defensible reasons for it - the general, natural pressure one could expect with a public commission; the pressure from it being the biggest drawing I've ever done; the stress of using new materials; financial pressure, deadline pressure, installation pressure, etc. The effect of this pressure in the studio has been that the canvasses have taken on an almost contentious, anthropomorphic presence. This is the first time this has ever happened to me. Usually, I see the blank piece of paper as an aesthetically gorgeous site on which to leave evidence of a performance, or maybe more precisely, a place where I prosecute a graphic intention. Either way, there is definitely a performative aspect to the process that I enjoy - one more self-conscious, the other, aware but not self conscious. With this drawing though, the canvasses have taken on a life of their own, and I've been sub-consciously dreading confronting them, probably because they're so damned big. The piece of paper on which I normally work is large, but not so large that I can't contain it in my reach (except diagonally). These canvasses dwarf me, so I think I've been intimidated (even though I've also been enthralled).
Today, though, I turned the corner. I started snapping the lines radiating from behind the word "truth" in the banner. I've almost finished snapping three sides. I also worked on the ground, spraying the canvas in places with a fine mist of thinned mat medium to hold the charcoal dust. With these "aggressions," the canvas relented, and I now feel like I'm somewhat in control again. It's still going to be challenging, but the dynamics of my relationship to the canvas have changed in my favor...for now.