Michael Andrew Page
Was it for this
That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov’d
To blend his murmurs with my Nurse’s song,
And from his alder shades and rocky falls,
And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
That flow’d along my dreams?
FYSSHYNGE is an exhibition that deals with flows of time.
Fishing boxes drawn in monumental scale, they evoke platonic solids-cum-architectural follies. Extremities kissing the perimeter of drawn space, they are realised in maniacal crosshatched detail. These are plans saturated in labour-time, lovingly and tortuously rendered but once finished emerging into an atemporal repose. Fixed in perspective the boxes are all that seems to exist, no relational scale objects, no rulers of measure, the expanse of water they would normally face is left mysteriously absent. In this sense they are akin to a mathematical object, the intense and repeated focus across these series of box drawings gives an odd quality. They feel a little like a Boltzmann Brain 1, fanciful and perverse, floating free.
Such flights of the imagination seem to spring from drawing, paper is for a child the first place to enact desires, a portal to watch the interior life becomes concrete. Indeed, the particular perspective of the boxes is perpendicular to the sightline of a child crawling, every detail and crevice is investigated with incredulity. However unlike a small child, who’s impulse is to taste their world, these are studies against the olfactory. They intend to vivisection a slice of remembered time, they are distillations; crystalline.
One gets the sense with Michael Page’s work that there is an encoding of information, intuitive rather than algorithmic but based on principles and hidden rules. In the clock drawings comprised of collaged paper fixed to plate steel with magnets, the letter N appears slotted into the compositions. ‘N’ is an algebraic substitute for a hidden value. There is a sense with all the work of the personal and private realm of drawing, an audience of one. This quality is convergent with the tradition of the illuminated manuscript or alchemist, the drawn page being an intersection of the transcendent. Interested in the Antiquarian movement Page relates to the era of science at its most private and personal, the figure of John Leland walking the landscape and making drawings of the standing stones and churches of England echoes in the background of his own personal codex of drawings. The sinewy concourses of the Paroxysmal series evoke parabolic forms from nature, river bends or snakes’ bellies, they are of course also calligraphic and cartographic, like the fishing box drawings their size appears scalable.
Brice Marden said painting’s power is in the simplicity of the fact that “It stays that way, you’re different but it’s the same, you can go back to it.” This seems particularly pertinent with FYSSHYNGE as the drawings contain the potential of their conversion into objects or equipment, but they are presented as-is, precise and quiet. In many ways it is an exhibition about absences, that which is left out gives ballast to what is visible. These are drawings of prosthetics, once ink is put onto paper it has the indelible quality of being persuasively ‘real’, hence the mistrust in oral traditions of the written word. It defies aging. Drawing’s resonance with the mind is seamless like that of words, we are happy to live in its spaces and time without realising we have left our own.
1. Theoretical object proposed under the condition of an infinite timescale, in which particles in the void of space would form any object at random no matter how unlikely, including one hundred billion neurons in a brain.
Michael Andrew Page (b. 1989, UK) currently lives and works in London, UK. Graduated from Royal College of Art (UK) and Slade School of Fine Art (UK). Recent exhibitions include Count the Leaves in Vallombrosa, Solo exhibition at Edel Assanti, London, UK (2014); Group Show, Gao Gallery, London, UK (2018); The Sleeping Procession, Cass Sculpture Foundation, UK (2017); Shrines to Speed, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA (2016).
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