Daniella Turbin's Drawings: Subject To Change

by Cass Art

Daniella Turbin's drawings are like fragments of dreams only half remembered, cupped in your hands like water as they trickle away. Hazy and delicate, they show glimpses of familiarity, and evoke broken moments of time, space and memory, suspended in their half-forgotten states on the paper.

After achieving her degree in Fine Art in 2013 from Kent University, Daniella's intricate drawings were exhibited at Turner Contemporary, as part of her nomination for the Platform Arts Graduate award in 2013. She was selected as Artist in Residence at the University of Kent, and in February 2014 she embarked upon a three-month artist residency in France at DRAW International.

This summer, from 3rd July, Daniella's drawings were shown at Subject To Change in Margate. The exhibition included selected drawings and monoprints from her residency at DRAW International, and over the next few months, she will be working on a three dimensional drawing for her first solo show in 2015.

We wanted to know more about her drawings, so asked her about her use of materials and her creative process.

 Daniella Turbin

Can you tell us a little about the symposium, Subject To Change?

Subject to Change is the first in a cross disciplinary drawing exhibition and exchange of ideas between emerging and established artists whose practice is underpinned by the process of drawing. It brings together the work of a group of International and UK based artists. It allowed 'play' with new ideas through collaboration and there are a series of performance, participatory, and installation works as well as straight up drawings, and drawing activities for the public to interact with.

Has your work always centred on the medium of drawing?

I have always used drawing as my primary tool to express a visual idea; drawings capture that initial idea in its raw state. I try to ensure that I draw as often as possible, even on days when I don't feel like drawing, and sometimes this can have the most unexpected results! However, except for attending the three month residency at DRAW International, my artistic training has been cross discplinary; my practice is underpinned by the drawing process which I then apply across installation, painting, photography and sculpture.

Your drawings are so intricate and ephemeral, but often depict objects of the everyday, such as staircases and ladders. What kind of themes would you say recur in your work? 

My practice is concerned with the in-between; the overlap between inside and outside of architecture, physical and abstract space, and the relationship between mind and body. It takes from the architecture and space of our physical world, such as the hidden and derelict spaces I explored during my time in France, and constructs a new mental topography. My recent works include joining spaces such as passages, roads and doorways to create new mental paradoxes, and over the past couple of years my works have included geometry and the ambiguity of these shapes. My most recent work Hypnagogia, which I developed at DRAW International, is a self contained spherical form which consists of 52 conjoining triangular prisms which moves towards an interweaving web, linking the binary oppositions of thinking substance (mind) and external substance (body). 

Daniella Turbin 

What are your favourite drawing materials and why? 

Definitely the A4 and A3 Moleskine sketchbooks, which I carry everywhere. These are great for quick sketches and simple line drawings and non-water based mediums. My Faber-Castell pencils are probably the most important tool in my pencil case, because they are great everyday sketching pencils and good for fine line work. Graphite Sticks and Faber-Castell Clutch Pencils are good for large shadow coverage, and I use Conté crayons for quicker figurative works and life drawings.

My work is equally dependent on erasure as it is on mark-making, so I use a range of erasers, including putty rubbers which are perfect for drawings created with loose powders. They are extremely mouldable and durable. And in terms of paper, Fabriano Paper Rolls are the best for large scale works! I also use Blotting Paper and Arches Paper - I have recently begun to experiment with graphite powder and blotting papers are fantastic for taking prints because they capture the texture of materials.

As I work in as many 3D works as I do 2D, I also use beeswax and parrafin wax, which I combine with papers and graphite powder. My recent monoprints were created using etching inks, Michael Harding oil paints and chinograph paper, which is really delicate, so it's great for experimenting with layers and picking up subtle textures.

Can you tell us about the process of your drawing –  and how you achieve such ghostly mark-making? 

My ideas come from everywhere; from books I read, like, Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, Cathryn Vasseleu's Textures of Light and Wittgenstein's Notebooks, from previous works and mostly my experience of the world. My recent works are based around a phenomenological engagement with a space and attempt to record this through a visual and tactile interaction with a space and the materials. For this reason I recently began developing a series of monoprints, and I use various printmaking techniques within my drawings to build up layers. My drawings also combine geometric lines and instinctual gestures, which I gradually build up and subtract from the drawings through a method of erasure.

The length of time it takes me to complete a drawing varies from a day to a couple of weeks, but when I get an idea I try and get it down on paper as soon as possible so that it's not lingering in my mind too long. The majority of the time, the materials do half the work.

Which artists or artworks have had a direct influence on your work?

One artist I have greatly admired since I was a teenager is Alberto Giacometti, especially his drawings and sculptural works. I visited the Tate Liverpool exhibition Drawing as a Catalyst for Change, which was a fantastic example of the variety of contemporary drawing and the position of it within our current times. The works which were particularly enticing were Anthony McCall Line Describing a Cone and the video works of William Kentridge. The Hayward Gallery Light Show and McCall's drawing were why I began to seriously consider the medium of light as a primary medium within my practice.

Feeling inspired?

Visit Daniella Turbin's website here.

The drawing symposium, Subject To Change, will be open until 16th July 2014, from 12-5pm in LIMBO, the Substation Project Space at 2 Bilton Square, Margate. 

Entry is free and it will feature works by artists Daniella Turbin, Dan Bass, selina bonelli, Greig Burgoyne, Jenny Core, Roy Eastland, Tanie Robertson, Vanessa Larsen and John Jo Murra.

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