Originally employed as an artists’ material some 30,000 years ago in the first art, cave paintings, charcoal’s use and importance has continued to grow ever since.
Working with this most simple and long-standing of materials and in the same format as each other (A1 sugar paper) Soledad Bustos and Anna Gardiner use drawing as a non-verbal, flexible thinking process. Charcoal’s immediacy is vital and its intimacy remarkable. There is no tool between the artist and the material, just the artist’s hand. On view is the considerable range of mark-making and striking tonal qualities of the medium from Gardiner’s expressive, velvety blackness to Bustos’s tender draughtsmanship and lightness of touch.
Bustos’s slightly larger-than-life-size double heads, floating in space, engage with the external world and with each other, drilling away at first attempts to place the figures, while Gardiner’s large skies and rustling grasses embrace and then confound the traditions of the English landscape through abstracted elements of telegraph lines and utilitarian fences.
Both artists have what might be termed elements of ‘portrait’ in their work but neither artist is concerned with representation. Transformative properties take centre stage here. Edward Degas said, “Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see” and in Twofold, as each artist creates an imagined world addressing ideas of identity, familiarity and archetype, we recognize it is so.