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  • Duncan Simcoe


Updated: Mar 25, 2023

A year and a half ago, I had asked friend and Curator, Gordon Fuglie for assistance in developing the now completed documentary video on how to make a Black Drawings. Somewhere along the way, he took it upon himself to ask Image Magazine if they would be interested in an article from him on the Black Drawings; he had written another piece on my work not quite 30 years ago. They were agreeable and the article was published in this last quarters journal. It is available from them in an on-line format. As far as the video goes, I'll be posting a link for that on the website shortly..... stay tuned.

As for the article, I think that it does a fine job of following the sensibility of the work; I sure recognize my own thought processes in there, but also enjoyed his elaborations on specific pieces. On the meditation on St. Catherine (Egypt Air) for example, its' expansion into an irregular, multi-sheet drawing was driven by what I thought the work demanded as a graphic statement; in order to get a certain kind of scale-interaction going, but I am gratified by his analysis suggesting the dismemberment of the Egyptian airliner. It is surely there, I just didn't know it. At a certain point, the work you make becomes its own person, taking on its own life and even voice. I think that this is one of the basic divides between propaganda art and other kinds of images. A work of propaganda can only be read one way. It is by nature dictatorial, its virtue and its limitation. It can never be any larger than the designer's conception. That conception might be brilliant, but it is also 'locked-in'. There's nowhere else to go. My work on the other hand, for all of its' specificity of form, is structured as an invitation to engage, which the viewer either accepts, or doesn't. Back to the article, the link to Goya makes me remember when I was 13-14. There were these pint-sized books on artists made by..... Phaidon? maybe available at the local bookstore. Their basic book ran 90 cents. The big boys could cost you $1.25 (Michelangelo!). I'd beg, borrow or.... did I really steal? nope, and hustle down to the local Pickwick bookstore and put my coins down on the counter and walk home with another artist to browse. That's how I met Fracisco Goya. Dick Deibenkorn did enter my screen until I was an undergrad, 10 years later. I became aware of Ed Kienholz in-between those markers, via an enlightened High School art instructor named Walden Cooper. In any event, anytime you're having those names dropped in your vicinity, you figure that you're doing ok.

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