Eighty 22s by Li-lan

Eighty 22s
Lines of Vision: Drawings by Contemporary Women

D 87 11Eighty 22s, 1987

In my recent drawings I have been using object and symbols from everyday life – at this moment focusing on a postage stamp motif – and transforming these ordinary items into contemplative icons.  Sometimes I draw a whole sheet of stamps separated by perforated lines, sometimes a section of one.  Much of the perforated sheet is devoid of stamps, leaving large areas of tranquil, empty space.

Some of the stamps are fully reproduced in every detail; others are only partially represented by a fragment of a bit of the picture, as if a suggestion or an indication of the whole; still others are blank space.  The latter portions, or “negative spaces,” heighten visual tensions.  There is an ambiguous balance of form and empty space, of the symmetrical and the asymmetrical, of the familiar and the unknown, that intrigues me.

In this pastel two rows of stamps have been torn off the sheet of one hundred, and I have drawn Eighty 22s. In this image the printer’s color registration is a yellow square and a red line running across the top of the sheet.  In other drawings the color chart may consist of triangles, squares, or circles of color used by printers in the process of created the printed stamp.  I am fascinated by these easily overlooked symbols – modern hieroglyphs from the mundane world of the everyday.