Thursday, 27 February 2014

Charcoal Movement-The physicality of drawing – Charlie Ford

15th-22nd February
Arts Depot Gallery
North Finchley, London

Visual Art isn’t always seen as the most accessible art form. However, over a week long period Arts Depot’s gallery has been transformed from a sparse blank canvas into its first interactive studio forum, where those who come to see not only get to be witness to the creation and development of a work but also get the opportunity to be creative alongside the artist.

Charlie Ford, a former fine arts student and recent dance studies graduate, has merged the mediums of art and movement to conceive a concept, which through the use of charcoal, graphite and other fine art materials ‘documents, preserves and recalls sensations of the body in improvised motion’. Creating new ideas about the creativity of the body and physicality of ‘mark making’, Ford has finely tuned elements of the separate art forms achieving unique collages of abstract ‘marks’.

Ford spends an hour on and an hour off, culminating in a four -hour day moving and drawing on one large canvas. He absorbs his audiences in a creative journey where his focus is solely on exploring what his motion can achieve on paper. What is interesting is that the dynamics of Ford's improvised movement, in collaboration with his emotional agenda, clearly dictates the shape, texture and continuity of design.

Fully immersed in his work, he is no less part of the canvas than the black chalky lines that he imprints. His focus and energy creates a meditative atmosphere for himself and for his onlookers, yet he is happy to be approached by the curious audience, removing the boundaries between his practice and performance.

Surrounding Ford’s own workspace is a number of smaller slate boards, allowing the public the opportunity to have their own physical experience; an element that on both days that I attended the performance was as impressing to the adults as it was to the abundance of enthusiastic little artists, many of who were eager to imitate Ford's approach.

A highly accessible exhibition with beautiful outcomes displayed at the end of each day. More exhibitions like this could really be key to getting more people- the young ones especially- moving and creating.

 By Bryony Cooper

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