Matt Woodward’s drawings appeal to me in that the materials are so evident in his final images. I also like how he can make a small decorative figure into something monumental which draws attention to its ephemerality. I thought of conch shells and how they are personal symbols for me for the continuity of familly and the passing down of ritual and familial celebration through generations. I wanted to show in these pieces how some aspects of civilization endure while some rot away.
I had watercolor drawings of conch shells on heavy, rough watercolor paper. I took two of these and scrubbed them with a wire brush under water to fade the drawings, then I covered the paper with gesso that had whiting added to it.
On one of these boards I drew into the gesso with charcoal. I did a contour drawing of another shell that was given to me by a mentor.I taped the boards to a wrought iron table and left them in the rain to see how they would distress.
I selected charcoal drawings of a conch shell to cover the images on the heavy paper. I soaked the lighter weight drawing paper in water while I spread acrylic medium on the drawings on the gessoed watercolor paper. I placed pieces of string amid the acrylic medium and pressed the wet drawings into the medium, sandwiching the string between the drawings.
Finally, I pulled the string up through the first drawing, tearing the drawing and revealing the first drawing and sections of the original watercolor that had bled through. This gives me a two-layer history of my symbolic shell with a reminder that paper, just like life itself, is fragile.