Lloyd Durling’s modestly sized drawings are made from an innumerable amount of strokes that form a field not dissimilar to thin washes of paint. Created using commonplace drawing tools, predominately felt-tip pen and graphite, the images are both animated and claustrophobic. Durling’s visual vocabulary explores the relational and negative space, which is heightened by his employment of the silhouette. The production of physical form, albeit flat, is created by filling in the space directly around the image, or working “back to front.” In both Parade and Triumph, the (positive) background, hashed out of a sea of silver graphite, creates (negative) skeleton figures on the paper’s white surface. Durling has illustrated a distilled lurking quietness in these skeletal drawings. Apparent tranquility is undercut by small pictorial details that suggest potential loss and offer a glimpse at possible catastrophe amid a quiet existence. Behind the inviting façade is the reality of how we could live with practically nothing and nothing practical.
However, here, the system of communication established between artist, object and viewer relies on transient relationships between narrative, mark making, and meaning. Playing with color, pattern, form, and above all, texture, each drawing’s explicit narrative is replaced with geometric combinatory relationships; the pictorial becomes less about communicating a relationship between sign and signifier and focuses more on these paradoxes that occur within the aesthetic experience. For instance, in Doppelgänger, the duo of trees offer a visual rhythm to the piece, while their possible duplicative status may lead to questions about identity. Yet, we are never sure where the speculation with formal elements turns into meaning making except when placed inside the viewer’s hands. As a result, the communication offered is quite open.