Tom Edwards. American, born 1948

Both artist and architect, Edwards' drawings are based on reality but are from his imagination. Some drawings take up to a year to complete.


Artist Statement

I start my drawings from a particular location, but the element of 'time' begins to affect my perceptions of the place. Because some of the drawings (mainly the large ones), take such a long period of time (over a year), the passage of time takes away from particulars; and shifts the focus to a more abstract kind of 'moving time-scape'.

Tom Edwards
Essays

Artist's Statement About his Drawings/Paintings

Drawing, for me, covers a vast array of activities that in some ways are akin to breathing and in other ways akin to surgery, or juggling the royal crystal and cacti. Intuitive and analytical at the same time. The idea of making a few twisted scratches with a pencil or pen, and then having those marks read as energy, space,light, and surface that describes or conveys visual experience is neverendingly puzzling and amazing to me. I constantly try to expand the possibilities by adding new elements to my vocabulary of marks and surfaces. I think my approach to constructing a drawing, painting , or print has now become homogenous and therefore more connected to a single language (that, at least, I can understand).

The surface of a drawing or painting is similar to the surface of a print. My prints are the result of many layers of drawing, etching, redrawing, removing, overprinting, surface residue, deep lines, shallow lines, old decisions, new decisions, abandoned directions, mistakes, accidents, conceptual unity, and endless possibilities and combinations of references to time, space and place. The paintings I am presently working on are an outgrowth of the same approach. I start with a concept of a space/place I want to describe and begin drawing into a layer of wet paint. The soft surface of paint lets me inscribe lines into the surface in much the same way a line is etched into the surface of a metal plate. I have begun to use different colors of surface paint as well as different colors of pencil line to create more spatial variation as well as surface variation. The main difference in surface development occurs when layers of paint start to build the surface out at the same time the mark is digging in. The resulting layering and inscribing produces a complex surface that holds the history of the process and hides underlayers of decisions and associated effects. The more complex the surface becomes, the abstract it tends to appear, the more the vocabulary becomes the language, the more real it becomes to me.

Experience of the landscape is one of time and space. Still Life is still, static, and controlled. Landscape is moving, ever changing, dynamic, alive, and unpredictable. A drawing/painting/print is not a photograph, it is a record of TIME and SPACE, and the memories, observations, reactions, conscience and sub-conscience, and much more of the artist reacting to (not coping) the place. I try to include as much as possible when possible. I think of the "landscape of the painting/drawing/print" as absolutely REAL and inhabitable even thought it may be completely constructed, invented, and abstract. I work "inside the image" to include wind, smell, fear, history, all those things that are present in our minds as we sit alone in a wilderness, (we bring it ALL with us), otherwise we wouldn't find it interesting.(?)

The paintings/prints include simple landscape themes that are basic to universal experience, the "fence" as an enclosure and limitation, the "alley" as excluded backzone dreamset, the "backyard" child memory safe haven of play, the "woods" as a mystical place wilderness of trees (I'm from Kansas, trees & forests are mysterious places, ask Dorthy), the "prairie" unlimited space with earth & sky & always wind, the "path" as a place to transverse a picture space, etc.

the artist says about prints:

I've always been more interested in printmaking as a medium for expression and exploration and less as a method of creating multiple images. A few years ago I produced several images by folding portions of a print back onto itself, making a symmetrical image from the counterproof. I was also experimenting with printing from different plates onto a single image, using various plates that were not originally intended to be combined. The results were a kind of "double exposure" that suggested some interesting possibilities. Printing this way became problematic due to plate marks occurring in unwanted places. I found I could get away from the plate mark problem by tearing up sections of freshly printed proofs and creating a sort of collage that I could counterproof onto a new image. I have been printing this way a lot over the last few years. After a print has been dry for a period of time, I can dampen it and continue working, offsetting new counterproofs until the new spatial relationships seem to maintain some continuity. The result is that one of these monoprints can be the result of many different sources and printing sessions. I have even found old proofs from years ago and reworked them into a new image. At times I add washes and some ink drawing or fingerprints to complete a passage in the image. The result is a unique image from a combination of printing methods. I know of no one else who works this way, but it works for me, and satisfies my need to constantly rework a never ending image.

Biography

CV

born 1948 Wichita, KS

education
1983 M.F.A., Yale University, New Haven, CT
1978 M.F.A. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
1971 B. Architecture, Kansas State University, Manhattan

public collections
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock
Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Boston Public Library, MA
Boston Printmakers Permanent Collection, MA
Fralin | University of Virginia Museum of Art, Charlottesville
Little Rock Art Center, AK
Library of Congress, Washington DC
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Wichita Museum of Art, KS

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