Taking Notes: Exploring Meaning through Drawing

November 1, 2001 - December 27, 2001
Central Library, Lobby Gallery
In the Artists Words

Language isn’t always what it appears to be. It is fluid and continues to evolve as it seeks to define the unknown. Some words change their meaning while others become irrelevant or obsolete.  Drawing has become for this artist a way of maintaining a sense of self during periods of fundamental change. In an attempt to connect the personal to the social, Taking Notes uses drawing as a means to imagine a pictorial language, a way of writing toward the unknown and in the process learning to accept difference.

By using words and their meaning as jumping off point, I have chosen three ways to interpret the transformation of meaning through drawing: works on paper, a book drawing and video. I use the build up of calligraphic marks on a surface to express various approaches to one idea. Every mark is an opportunity to travel to an unknown pictorial space. These drawings are made in the process of exploring meaning, which once revealed, is then covered up and changed into something new.

In the dictionary piece, ink drawings are created on over 1500 pages of the now obsolete Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary. Words and their meaning have become obscured and made inaccessible by the drawings, in the way that language can sometimes hide instead of articulate what we intend to say. It was made as a metaphor to rethink sometimes outmoded belief systems.

The video drawing chooses the library itself as its main character. A library is where information of all sorts is made accessible to a wide public. I attempt to portray the library as a vehicle of knowledge and the organizer of ideas. While pathways to accessibility may change over time, it is still up to the individual to make sense of it. With Taking Notes, drawing becomes one person’s attempt to come to terms with the unknown.

About the Artist

Margaret Neill earned a MFA degree at Brooklyn College in 1984. She has exhibited her work in commercial and not for profit settings. Including the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, the Czech Republic at the Monastery Plazy and the Mixed Media Gallery of Block Island, RI.

Since 1994, Margaret has been affiliated with the Kentler International Drawing Space where she made large scale charcoal drawings directly on the walls and has been a regular participant in shows there ever since.

In Feb. 2000 she was Artist in Residence at Hiram College.  Most recently, Neill was accepted as visiting instructor during Winter Term 20001 at Middlebury College in Vermont.

In addition to works on paper and painting, she works in a variety of formats, from wall drawings to book drawings, to a limited edition book of photographs, entitled, COMMON PLACE: Earth Sea Sky.

This is the first in a series of three shows that the Kentler International Drawing Space will be organizing in conjunction with the Brooklyn Public Library.

The Kentler International Drawing Space, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is dedicated to bringing to the public drawings and works on paper by artists, both nationally and internationally; presenting important and timely contemporary art as part of the cultural fabric of a community.