Focus on an Intentist. Adrian Haak Jnr. Day 3: Ontology and Home; a closer look.

Adrian Haak Jnr recently edited the book’ The Search for Intentist Art.’ This is a collection of interviews with contemporary Intentist artists with contributions from Professor of Philosophy and author of ‘Art and Intention’ Paisley Livingston, and Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and Byam Shaw, Stephen Carter.

Here is an extract where Adrian Haak Jnr speaks about the creative process behind Ontology and Home. For the complete interview, the book can be purchased here:

“Let’s focus in on one of your artworks in particular. Could share some of the thoughts behind this work?

The generation of a recent work is a difficult thing to talk about. Often the whole is greater than sum of its parts, or what exactly it is I’ve generated isn’t fully known to me yet.

This drawing was a wrestling match from the start, and took a long time to realize. Once the panel was cut and prepped, I decided that I wanted to push my relationship with the medium and saturate the surface with the silver, as if I were doing a charcoal drawing. I initially planned on drawing a different image, but then I snagged a leaf from a London Plane Tree on Clapham Common, and wanted to use that instead. I was keen to arrange a composition that was different from my usual centred, icon-like approach, which left me with a less direct image than normal. I felt this suited well the foggy quality of the field of silver. As I began drawing the leaf from direct observation, I researched the symbolic history of the London Plane/ Sycamore tree. Learning some of the that tradition of the leaf as a symbol deepens my relationship with it, provides some context and allows me to invoke concepts that may be beyond my own limited scope. I meditate on this symbolism as I look and as I draw. I feel that this time when I get acquainted with my subject (how it looks, what it does or did, what it can mean), this slow-growing familiarity, is very important to the making of the work, fr two reasons. Silverpoint drawings typically take a long time to complete and so I must feel a connection with my subject, and learning its history and having around day-to-day allows me to maintain my interest and curiosity in it. Secondly, the level of interest the artist has in the subject is transferred directly into the work and, from there, on to the viewer, so I try to provide him or her with some token of my own curiosity about my subject, hoping that that leads to interest in looking at my work; and then, if I am very lucky, it generates an increased curiosity in the viewer for his or her own life.

I began the drawing proper soon after my move back to London from Pennsylvania in the autumn of 2010, and it quickly became about locating myself in this new time and place. I am careful not to be too discrete in planning my drawings – I want some those instances of surprise and freshness, as well as the marring evidence of mistakes, to be part of the finished work. Creating the drawing was like moving forward in a fog where I could only see a few steps ahead of me at a time.

The drawing is, I think, better than my initial idea.”



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