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Blind Time Drawings, from September 12 through November 1, 2003

 

 Haim Chanin Fine Arts  has the pleasure of presenting an exhibition by Robert Morris entitled Blind Time Drawings, on view from September 12 through November 1, 2003. Blind Time Drawings comprises fifteen works on paper representative of the series that the artist executed blindfolded from 1973 to 2000. The drawings are predominantly black and white, with sporadic dabs of gray or red. Mediums include graphite, dry and in plate oil, ink and iron oxide on mylar and etching paper.

 

Visually striking, the Blind Time Drawings consist of stark black and white contrasts, explosions of graphite and obsessive markings that move organically throughout the page. Some works also incorporate outlined text and geometric shapes. In some cases, the ink or graphite, whichever the case may be, fills the entire surface, overflowing beyond its borders. The markings are powerful, strong visual statements. The action of the fingers smudging, smearing and dabbing the medium on the paper are very present.

 

On first approach, Morris’s Blind Time Drawings seem to be the traces of a desperate beast struggling to find its way in complete darkness, relying solely on touch and instincts for guidance. Yet, in spite of the impairment, which deprives the artist of the most basic element of art making, vision, Morris imposes an order, a system. At the bottom of each drawing, in methodical writing, he describes his process: “With the eyes closed the ten fingers move outward from the center making counting strokes.  Two thousand strokes are made in an estimated two minutes,” excerpt from Blind Time I (1973).

 

Also of essence is the “Time estimation error” documenting the difference between the predicted and actual time of execution of each piece.  The text alludes to the action, to the time-based process of creation. But, most significantly, it uncovers poignantly the futile human effort to find overarching meanings through the scientific method, thus mocking the legacy of Illuminism and Rationalism.

 

Morris’s drawings are a mordant commentary on the false sense of security that these ultimate truth formulas, especially when coupled with modern technological advances, provide. Drawing blindfolded is a metaphor for our own blindness, both on a personal and a social level. Admitting these limitations Morris writes “It is the not yet imagined and the as yet/unseen of the distant future which/constitutes one of the more exquisite/forms of torture for the self's awareness” (1985) and in Moral Limit (2000) “An environment of political con-/trol in which fantasy parades as reality and/puerile phalanxes clamor and claw in the/great market of cyberspace, buying and sell-/ing the meaningless, a culture of and for/Luftmenschen for which the sky is the limit.

 

 

Haim Chanin Fine Arts All Rights Reserved (C) 2003