The encounter with David Connearn’s lines came through a somewhat unusual path. A client of the Contemporary Art Society wished to sell a series of five drawings by David. I was contacted as the gallery had a reputation for obsessive positions in the program - and fell in love on first sight, never having heard of David before. As simple as the initial concept of David’s drawings may be, the metaphors of a line never being like another line yet following the one before, links to life, days, years, patterns, earth stratifications, weaving, moving, breathing. Simply brilliant in execution, deeply philosophical in scale.
David Connearn draws lines. For hours, days and weeks starting with a single line that he draws freehand and as straight as possible across the top of the page. He then retraces a second line just underneath that first one following its wandering path with all its imperfections. In doing so, each line errs and veers off setting a new track for the next ahttps://www.patrickheide.com/node/addnd continues to do so until the work is finished.
Once completed, the works release marks and patterns of rich texture reminiscent of waves, wrinkles and folds, textiles or even darkness. These are the result of converging or diverging lines, their diverse densities and varying rates of wear in the tinting strength of the pencil or ink. Alternating brighter and darker layers up to entire passages arise. This can extend beyond single works and even cover whole series of works in which the gradations of pencil or colour are continued.
Connearn’s works have various sizes and shapes, although the artist generally prefers to practice on a large scale, in a rectangular format, in order to evenly pace the work, literally take the line on a walk. In his latest series called Refuge, after many years of mainly drawing in black and white, Connearn started to use colour inspired by the flags of a Calais refugee camp. Layers of superimposed coloured lines or black lines covering up coloured ones introduce a new aspect of layering and gradations to his minimal scheme.
Connearn’s purely abstract drawings address issues of temporality, chance and the physical act of the drawing process itself. The hand of the artist is constantly perceptible: in the succession of lines and the movements they make as well as in the border width, which results from the precise setting of each single line. Despite a genuinely conceptual approach these works don’t have anything automated but are the record of an activity in time. A repeated sequence of actions and gestures that is surrounded by a transcendental aura and a moment of contingency.
David Connearn has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. His works entered important private and public collections such as the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Council.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Still Masters, 2021 (group show with Minjung Kim and Susan Schwalb)
Should I Stay or Should I Go, 2019 (group show with James S. Brooks, David Connearn, Eric Cruickshank, Henrik Eiben, Frank Gerritz, Michael Iwanowski, Michael Landy, Stefana McClure, Mike Meiré, Danica Phelps, Varvara Shavrova, Susan Stockwell, Johannes Von Stumm)
mimēma, 2014 (group show with Michelle Charles and Sam Messenger)
David Connearn, Drawing, 2011 (solo show)
Heraclitus, fragment 12
1.4 mm black rotring ink pen on 300gsm Heritage rag paper, backed onto polyester sailcloth on stretcher
196 x 196 cm
Red and black rotring ink pens on 300gsm Heritage rag, backed with polyester sailcloth on stretcher
200 x 200 cm
Sweat on 300gsm Arches 88 paper, backed onto polyester sailcloth on stretcher
100 x 100 cm