STUART BRISLEY, Pig Wars, 2008

Pig Wars, 2008

Graphite on paper

65cm X 104cm

Obvious things first. Drawing can be the most simple and direct means of expression. It can be the most economic medium. And at the same time it offers complexity as a means of expression.

I have long been interested in working with economic forms of expression, hence the use of the body as a vehicle devoid of other aids or most other aids. I have at times thought of the body as a vehicle for drawing where the pencil has been withdrawn into the body and where subsequent bodily  actions are outcomes of the identical  sense of drawing. This approach creates an entirely different mode of operation while being held to the same concept. Once a pencil is held in the hand a great change has occurred in the mind where what was before Sense-Ational becomes more conceptual. The small gap between the fingers and the point of the pencil on the paper creates a more devastating gap in the mind.

Likewise the subject of a drawing and its title create gaps and intervals with which the viewer colludes in one way or another.
For example the title of this drawing Pig Wars will most likely have different implications for one viewer as opposed to another. Thereby the work becomes a more than a single entity with a declared clarity of meaning. Even the subject can be open to speculation.

Time passes after its completion and as the author of the drawing my own understanding of it is likely to change. An ever greater distance between it and the author emerges. This drawing was made relatively recently and although my intentions might have been clear at the time I find that I am influenced by other views of it, and become less assured as to what it is. Initially I wanted to make an image while not being exactly representative of a human form none the less suggested it. As I proceeded so the emerging image split into two closely connected forms one more reminiscent of a human head the other more an indeterminate bodily form. They were seen to depend on each other, not in a collaborative fashion but in the manner of a state of conflict. This was taking place in an indeterminate arena where there are signs of struggle on the ground. No one else is present. Not another thing is there except that beyond the drawing there stands potentially a person or people.

The title suggests the presence of a state or states of conflict elsewhere – Pig Wars.

To my mind there is also something awful in the drawing where the protagonists appear to have knowledge that they are being seen. It is as though an act of cannibalism is taking place as a sado/masochistic act, where the protagonists are conscious of being seen. The title places this in a larger context. The context of war and wars. I think of war as  a continuous process breaking out here and dying away there. Pig Wars is a reference to the long standing, on going colonial conflicts between Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

We are the pig eaters.

Stuart Brisley, Dec 3 2009