Observation #4

June 12, 2017


ANT v ART is a collaborative writing/drawing project between London born arts writer Altair Roelants and Vancouver artist Angela Gooliaff.

ANT v ART subverts the language of contemporary art criticism by reappropriating its terms of address through a two-way writing and drawing exchange (v) between critic (ART) and artist (ANT). This is conducted via a correspondence played out in the postal system rather than using the much socially preferred speed of digital communication.

For entire manifesto please click here.

The below text is in response to Observation #3’s drawing.


Dear ANT,
A postcard, a drawn outline, a glimpse of my view – revealing some visual clue about the place I sit, the place I write from, the place I am.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, beyond adding some local paraphernalia to my response but since your last correspondence I have been considering this view – my daily view captured on this postcard – as one of many periphery ‘views’ to my writing. And I’m meaning view in the broadest sense – not necessarily visually ordained but a pattern or routine, a sound or something around you that may only register faintly or not at all. I have since left this view and have been travelling often, so I have come to contemplate all these periphery ‘views’ at various places of writing. Some I made note of – a café out the back of an old Auckland city building, a sweltering garden terrace overlooking the Cook Strait, an object cladded light filled room, an anonymous aeroplane tray-table, and now, a small terrace next to the Aveyron river where old men are drinking espresso and bantering in the reluctant spring sunshine – and others have long faded away. Nevertheless, it would seem they are piling up…somewhere.
I suppose then, these periphery ‘views’ must have some bearing on what I write? Even when that writing is about something else, about art for instance. Falling into the sentences and leaving their fingerprints on the words somewhere – gently sometimes, unnoticed, or landing with written force. Or course other things jar against them, blurring their edges, so they slide in and out of focus as I slip past – like a slide show where some images are repeated for old times sake or get stuck and jump in the reel.
I don’t think we really notice these little fissures in writing about art, these periphery ‘views’. I suppose the writer does not guide us to them, it’s often not needed or maybe it doesn’t have a place in arts writing? But don’t those periphery ‘views’ inform ones subjective response and perception? Offer us a richer palette of words to choose from? Ones that are harnessed in real, lived, human experience? Trickling into the colours we might notice, the concepts that resonate, the certain textures a piece of ceramics evokes, the rhythms repetitive graphite lines remind us of, ones that we feel compelled to recall, to get down on paper.
So, dear ANT, I was wondering about your periphery ‘views’ – those that may leave traces in your art. Not the direct ‘views’, those things that you may talk about, record or use with intention, but those unconsidered views – the mundane view from your window, the collection of pots on a shelf, the daily journeys and rituals, the well worn spaces, the habitual movement from one place to the next – the unfiltered periphery ‘views’ that leave something, somewhere if you look for it and try to pick it up.
As always, please draw and respond, as you will.

Copyright © 2015 Altair Roelants

To read the text and article about the ideas behind Altair’s observation no. 3, please visit her website by clicking here.