Nickola Pottinger

I make drawings that trigger a conversation between slow meticulous marks and quick, bold physical gestures. I use traditional materials such as Japanese Sumi ink on paper along with eggs, tea, and play dough. A part of my process is to make layers from the build up of marks, transparent use of color, tearing, gluing, and erasures. This combination produces the effect of forms and spaces which resist and yet, balance each other. When the work is viewed from a distance the drawings resemble maps, biological forms, and fictional landscapes as seen in in image 13, Something like Earth.

Working large scale connects to my background as a dancer. This is subtly reflected in the way the work engages the space and how collectively the drawings move in a space. The opportunity to use my hands as a direct tool and create gestural movements with tangible materials is another connection to my experience in dance.  There is tension in the drawings underscored by the fact that they are larger than life size yet depict cellular elements usually seen on a molecular scale. The sprawling quality of the drawings move beyond a framed rectangular or square format. Image 1, Honeycomb is shown in a corner of a room, and the pieces that make it whole allow it to rotate and reside in multiple ways. There is a detail of the right corner edge lifting off the wall, and the edges in this work are very specific and concise.

The surfaces are worked and reworked, as spaces are built and then broken down. Within each maelstrom of repetitive marks, painting, tearing and excavation, I derive in what looks like a loose-jointed patchwork or quilt. The work investigates the multifaceted layers of space and time.

There are elements of destruction and construction when I tear and cut up my drawings, and then collage them together. I dig and build on top of the surfaces to create a thick layer and cut around the exposed images. I use egg yolks and wood glue in some areas, as my adhesives because they age and change color over time. I also rub fragments of play dough into my surface. In image 2, another angle of Honeycomb, there are areas where I use the skins of used tea bags, along with the contents inside the teabag. The varieties of teas I use each have distinct colors, at moments golden, ochre or brown.

There is a level of intimacy in the way the drawings get made. I am often sitting or laying on top of the paper so that I can get close. This is evident in both the larger and smaller works. Recently I have been concentrating on compressing my drawings into a smaller scale. These more intimate edifices lend to my process of experimenting with limited materials. There is still the process of excavating and building, with layers and carving into the pastels. They are condensed meditations as seen in Mr. DJ.

Working in both small and large scale helps me codify my use of mark making, the way that I layer, and gives me insight on the role of the haptic qualities present in both sizes. I have realized that at times a small work can have the effect of something that is larger. Sometimes the smaller works are left as individual pieces, other times there is potential of the smaller works to be incorporated into something larger. If it is left alone then it is a whole, where as if it is combined with other forms it becomes a fragment that is part of a larger whole.