Visualizing the verbal

“My drawings are made through a process of mark making, using mostly dots, dashes and lines, and running through horizontals and vertical directions, as in the warp and weft in weaving. Each layer of marks built up over the previous layer partly obscuring but also revealing and repeating.
The resulting image is a mêlée or a wall of drawn marks that appear as a field of repeated actions.
The size of the drawings is often large or human in scale, with the viewer encountering the space of the drawing.
The marks are made in a certain order or pattern, and give the impression of completeness, yet also an appearance of in-between-ness or of a state of emerging.”
Anthony Lyttle.

When I reflect on the image two things from which it cannot be separated come: the rhythm and the vision. The vision, that still and private world which each of us possesses and which others cannot see, is brought to life in rhythm – rhythm being little more than the instinctive movements of the vision as it comes to life and begins its search for the image in a kind of grave, grave of the images of dead passions and their days[1].

When writing about drawing his father`s corpse as it lay in the coffin the late John Berger reminds us that “one tends to forget that the visual is always a result of an unrepeatable, momentary encounter”, [2] its fragility resulting from the debris of what had been only now to find its way into a new constellation; a constellation made up of not least memory and forgetfulness; those two ever present but easily overlooked operative drives.

Accumulation [Installation image, VISUAL Carlow]  marker, acrylic, tape on layout paper 293 x 360cm  © Anthony Lyttle 2012 Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

‘Accumulation’ [Installation image, VISUAL Carlow], marker, acrylic, tape on layout paper, 293 x 360cm
© Anthony Lyttle 2012 Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

In ‘Memory and Forgetting’ (1999), Paul Ricoeur searches for the ethical dimension he believes is connected to the act of memory.[3]  In so doing he identifies two registers out of which memory operates or against which it can be questioned.  Memory in its relation to the past is a form of knowledge. It makes a claim upon us which in effect can be doubted. Memory or more precisely remembering is also a form of action. Remembering is a form of doing something and this something that it does is connected to forgetfulness and ultimately for Ricoeur to ethics.  Memory is a type of action which is itself answerable to a type of knowledge claim; it can be inaccurate or not, it can be wrong. One can accuse memory in ways which are not possible in the case of its twin, the imagination and yet “we have nothing better than memory to guarantee that something has taken place.”[4]

Fall [installation image]  414 x 376cms   VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow © Anthony Lyttle 2012Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

‘Fall’ [installation image] 414 x 376cms, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
© Anthony Lyttle 2012 Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

Fall [installation image]  414 x 376cms   VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow © Anthony Lyttle 2012Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

‘Fall’ [installation image], 414 x 376cms, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
© Anthony Lyttle 2012 Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

What type of memory action does Anthony Lyttle`s work work out visually? There is initially the sense of the visually abstract. This aspect is enforced by the minimal and almost geometric use of the recursive black and white points in regulative horizontal fields. The adherence to a logic of scale as derivative of the mathematical possibilities inherent in A2 pages also seems to bear this out.  However the tidiness of this description very quickly begins to feel more like a disguise. It draws attention to those elements which it cannot account for. In other words the work seems to be very inconsistent, in certain respects, in adopting my description. Principally there is a sense of expressive non-adherence which surfaces in each drawing. The rhythmic flicker of the applied marks ‘stutters’ across the visual field leaving us somewhat in an in-between zone that might be readable in light of the remembered and the forgotten.

Interlock installation image VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow © Anthony Lyttle 2012Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

‘Interlock’ installation image, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
© Anthony Lyttle 2012 Photograph by Ros Kavanagh

Transition (detail), marker and acrylic paint on layout paper, 119 x 147 cm  © Anthony Lyttle 2013

‘Transition’ (detail), marker and acrylic paint on layout paper, 119 x 147 cm
© Anthony Lyttle 2013

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