Artist Statement

Odette Graskie

My practice is an exploration, a pulling at the threads found in moments of connection and intimacy between people. Whether in paper fibres, secret messages, or interactions between people, I involve myself in the act of active looking and paying attention. Through drawing, I am forced to look closer and take in more. This has unintentional emotional consequences, leaving me with a range of emotions (from love and connection to abandonment and alienation) which I then attempt to express and unravel through the use of line.

In 2021, I hosted the Drawing Sessions, which became ‘the physical meeting’, which we had lost during the COVID 19 pandemic. These sessions became moments of ‘human touch’ and my way of having a more honest practice based on mutual recognition and permission. Through drawing, I undertake an investigation of transitory moments of connection and the attempt to capture these fleeting moments.

For me, the Drawing Sessions became an intimate space, which forged the connections between my art, the sitter, and the spectator. These sessions became part of my research, which looks at the relationship between the artist and the sitter in performative drawing artworks and investigates my practice of drawing. I found that when drawing from life, it serves the conveyance of shared experience. The observations made over a period of time shared between myself and the sitter determines the outcome of every work made.

The final artworks are then created from what is collected during the Drawing Sessions. These are layered, reworked, stitched, overlapped and multi dimensional an attempt to reconsider and reinterpret the interaction in emotive, obsessive retellings. In these reinterpretations, the use of paper also echoes the ebb and flow of the interactions. Making paper also involves intricate steps and can become an obsessive and embodied process. Paper is the medium of storytelling, a mode of connection. Whether store bought or handmade, used sculpturally or to be a part of an artist’s book, the paper used in the artworks also has the potential to convey an emotional state.

I pull at these threads, of the intimate and the ways in which intimacy can exist between people through minute interactions and mutual recognition. My work is focussed on unravelling small moments and looking closer, echoed in Susan Sontag’s words, “Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”

Odette Graskie