Gwyneth Leech, The Cup Drawing Installation: Hypergraphia
Press - June 9, 2011
The Cup Drawings, an installation of 300 plus drawings on upcycled take-out paper coffee cups will be installed at Buck House on June 9th. Since people are no longer tethered to homes and offices due to the rapid advancements in wireless and computer technology and the nonstop pace of 21st century life, this exhibit explores how, instead of giving up that domestic sensibility, women create a new one wherever they find themselves. Art integrates with life on the go as passers-by, many with their own take-out beverage in hand, will experience the installation of cups growing and changing throughout the day. This installation will be on view Thursday, June 9 from 3:00-7:00 PM, and Gyneth Leech will sit in the window of Buck House drinking coffee and drawing on cups. Inspired by the nearly extinct art of letter writing, an integral extension of this project is Leech’s blog, Gwyneth’s Full Brew, which can be followed on-line at gwynethsfullbrew.com featuring cup drawings along with “vivid New York slice of life stories about the vagaries and incidental pleasures of being an artist in this crowded, expensive, crazy and inspiring city.”
With Leech’s diverse background in painting, video, ceramics, calligraphy, wood engraving and other printmaking techniques, the cup series began as a casual outgrowth of her compelling urge to draw wherever she is. One day, without a sketchbook handy, Leech used what was available in the moment. The curved form, challenge of working with existing shapes, colors, and text, and the infinite possibilities of expressive variation became as addictive as the caffeinated beverage the cup once contained. In addition to raising issues of consumerism, post-consumer waste and environmental concerns the cups are essentially about what drawing is: a conversation between mark making and surface. Building, layering and obliterating through memory, observation and working from within, this meditative process begins with an initial response to each cup and takes on a life of its own. Her interest in fractal patterning and the fragmenting and meandering of memory and life itself offers an expansive, flowing, bottomless well of imagery, from figurative cityscapes, flora, fauna, mythological winged creatures, and dance performance to jazzy abstracted aerial marsh views, biomorphic forms and purely non-objective design. Before any drawing begins, Leech records the date, location and related circumstances on the bottom of each cup. Combining traditional and non-traditional materials including Faber Castell brush pens, gel pens, white-out pens, Sumi ink, oil or acrylic paint with encaustic and/orpolymer varnish with ultra-violet protection, Leech transforms the ubiquitous coffee cup into a chance to hold her imagination and her New York City in the palm of your hand.
Gwyneth Leech earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA and Post Graduate DA at Edinburgh College of Art, UK. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Glasgow District Council’s European Capital of Culture Project Grant, Scotish Arts Council Time Based Media Award, University of Colorado’s President’s Fund Grant and Elizabeth Greenshields Memorial Award, Leech’s work resides in important private and public collections such as the American Museum, Bath, UK; British Broadcasting Corporation; Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council, UK; Edinburgh City Art Galleries; Royal Bank of Scotland; Strathclyde University, UK and the Theater Royal, Glasgow. Museum shows and gallery exhibitions include the Southwest Minnesota State University Art Museum, Marshall, MN; La MaMa La Galleria, NYC; Ayr Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Kilmarnock Art Gallery and Museum, UK; Dundee Museum of Natural History, UK; and the Gallery of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO.
Hypergraphia event at Buck House, 1318 Madison Avenue, between 93rd and 94th Streets, in New York, took place on June 9, 2011. Four months after Gwyneth sat in the Buck House window on Madison Avenue drawing and conversing with guests, she has been documenting the Big Apple on cup size surfaces inside the window at the base of the Flatiron Building. David W. Dunlap's article in the NY Times summarizes her experience and success: