Dan McCabe – ‘On The Edge’


It is through the simple gesture of drawing that unfamiliar forms start to emerge from a familiar photographic surface and the viewer is confronted with two distinct pictorial and linguistic planes. Gestural pencil marks disrupt an indeterminate landscape as the surface enters into a dialogue between representation, abstraction, figuration and materiality. This interplay between photographic depth and the material surface results in a misdirected and hesitant gaze, taking the viewer to the boundaries of recognition and visual understanding. Disguised by the cloak of darkness or the pigment from a pencil, the landscape becomes harder to grasp.

Unlike paintings that dissipate to tonal variation under close inspection, the photo-drawings are only realised when closely examined. Although it constricts the visibility and compositional signifiers, the pencil veil gives the photograph room to breathe and time to escape the weight of truth that is inherent to photography. This destructive yet creative gesture liberates both photograph and viewer, inviting their imagination to enter the frame. As the dust settles, a new dialogue is formed as one is left to untangle the wreckage between the materiality of the surface and the world it alludes to. Once representing a ghostly and desolate landscape, the now disrupted surface resists comprehension indefinitely.