Nola Farman, Falling Into Line: an outline, 2020
I really admire the line quality in this drawing of a young, bare-chested young man. The head, strong torso with folded arms all outlined by contour lines alone, not coarse, not blurry, no smudges, just black lines drawn with a crisp, sharpened pencil made from rock-hard, compressed charcoal – on white paper. I wish I could draw like that.
The hair is thick, a bit curly without being out of control. If this work was in colour, I think his skin would seem ever so lightly tanned. But its strange how the white surface of the page between the fine black lines appears whiter than the rest. Curious.
The face in three quarter profile has pointy cheek-bones, angled chin – slightly raised, high-bridged nose slopes to the tip, curling into the nostrils. Lips are thin – not too thin, lightly pressed – eyes are focussed – to the side towards me – he speaks to me.
And all just drawn with line.
This is a superbly skilful line drawing. Not a single wasted mark. Fully expressed … each line is a thread … sutured, pulled tight, pinning, drawing near … so close. Keep to the line, make the connections, a thread spun by Fate, hard lines, hard times, line by line, by-lines … a thread-like mark. The steady hand of a surgeon with a scalpel, finely cut, razor-sharp, crisp, cold … incisive, decisive with no hapless wandering, just precisely outside to inside … then inside to outside. The line hangs on an edge, which is not an edge … it is the moment of the contour.
Drawing in your eyes, enticing, stroking the folds of the muscles, rolling into where the armpit must be. The soft porn of chest muscles, forearms. The precise points where bone presses to the surface … tightening the skin … defining the angles … the corners if they can be called that … a hairline, a fine line not to be cross-hatched. No finger dipped in blood here.
Desirèe de Kikk:
Not another drawing of a handsome young man! Sacre bleu! The world is full of them just as he’s full of himself I imagine. And full of people who would admire him. The just-so curly fore-lock. Not too much muscle. Just enough. Clearly the guy works out. Ageless, timeless, yet dated, the self-perpetuating myth. There is an endless line of the bougres. Merde merde merde merde merde merde – merde!
Artists, poor sods, are trained to think they should be in complete control. Like where and how to draw the line. But what is there truly between these lines? What does the artist actually underline, underpin, understand? Can you read between the lines?
Do you realise that the subject of the drawing stalks the artist? Stalks the viewer. See where he looks. A striking glance. A blow. Penetrating. Into the eyes. Of the artist at the time of drawing. Side-stepping. Sidling. Sliding into your eyes. You the viewer. Trapped in the mind’s eye. There’s no escaping the predator, pre-dated, over-rated … Viarge!
Oh how the art world adores a hero, especially one rendered so clearly, so crisply; so clean-cut, brought into line, delineated. I agree with Noel, this is an excellent drawing, attractive, seductive. Filled with succulent flesh. Just the ticket! He ticks all my boxes. He’s a good size – close to life-size I should think, this gives him a certain presence, some drama, a spirit, a character. And those eyes … ah … those eyes, a direct line connecting to the viewer. Our hero has no name (I can do something with that) with the mystery. Slightly erotic, exotic, and yet it is such a familiar image, the classic appearance, a fine bloodline. I’m reminded of Michelangelo’s “David”, or Benvenuto Cellini’s “Perseus with the Head of Medusa”. Or better still, following that lineage, Donatello’s “David”. Pleasing to more than the eye. Spin a line whichever way you want. This is what our collector wants. Join the line up.