State of Line

‘State of Line’ is an exhibition of the work of ten artists exploring line in their drawings. This exhibition is the fourth in a series of shows at the Artworks, Halifax to celebrate and explore the potential of drawing to transform lives. The ten artists exhibiting here have been selected because of the diverse and fascinating ways in which they consider and employ line within their drawing practice. 

Tim Ingold (2016), author of ‘Lines’, says:

‘It only takes a moment’s reflection to recognise that lines are everywhere. As walking, talking and gesticulating creatures, human beings generate lines wherever they go’.


Andy Black

The basis of my drawings is an alphabet of around two hundred forms. Some of these forms are objects from the landscape – trees, bushes, rocks, mountains, lakes. Some are reminiscent of topiary or architecture. Others are sharp-edged and geometric or more amorphous and blobby. 

These forms are made of visible lines – constructive marks on the paper. The lines pile up, connect, describe, feel round surfaces and define edges. They make the forms manifest. 

There are invisible lines at work too: 

The forms are plotted onto perspectival grid so that we have an aerial viewpoint over a territory that recedes deep into the distance but has no horizon. The grid is a lattice of lines – not marked but present, disappearing toward vanishing points, pushing back into space.

This, I think, is the particular alchemy of drawing – to turn lines into things, to turn the flat paper into infinite depth. The potential to build worlds with the barest means.


Hanna ten Doornkaat 

My work is a continuous exploration of the process and meaning of drawing and in particular ‘non-objective’’ drawing. The main medium used for my drawings on paper is a humble graphite pencil which allows a certain control over the lines. The  repetition of marks, lines and grids as a compositional format are regularly recurring elements . I often work on several drawings at once which allows for a dialogue between the drawings and to inform each other.

Evy Jokhova

Rufus Newell

Honesty and immediacy, desire and denial, joy and trepidation are important to me when drawing. They act as building blocks upon which my ideas form, often shown through simplicity of line and image.

The discipline of drawing defines and grounds my practice, in which a desire for reinvention and expression is central. For me drawing has a deceptive simplicity that renders form and meaning quickly as content spontaneously manifests itself, arriving on the paper apparently prior to any considered thought process or intention. This rapid and ephemeral nature of the medium enables me to overlay, obliterate, and edit, in order to arrive at meaning. Throughout this process I attempt to let the work dictate to me allowing intuition, material property and personal experience guild my choice of scale, colour and form. The end results are initiated by memory, reaction and direct observation.


Drawing functions as an immediate means by which to realise a visual idea and its potential. I use a deliberately simple vocabulary to construct images. 

Line serves as a key component, enabling the mapping of a particular compositional impulse. Around this linear armature, forms are built, using an evolutionary process that allows for and often actively encourages improvisation.

The images chosen for this presentation are taken from a large and ongoing series. They demonstrate some of the ways in which the drawn line has served as a framework for visual investigation.

The starting point for these images is an exploration and questioning of the simple assumptions around the construction of pictorial space. Using basic and sometimes crude modular elements, the drawings address ideas of containment, balance and spatial depiction- realised through forms that at times push against the restriction of the paper’s parameters, appear to precariously teeter on the brink of collapse or shift between flatness and depth. 

The emergent images present totemic forms and structures that evoke and invite analogous interpretation. I enjoy the way in which such modest and direct means can be used to discover and create unforeseen forms and readings.

9 Greig Burgoyne 'Quadraturin' performance 3 La Confection Idéale France.'Count walk,measure,record then follow', Body & iphone.jpg

Greig Burgoyne

For ‘State of Line’ Burgoyne offers up Quadraturin - ‘Sticky walk’ as a live performance and large-scale projection & ‘Count/walk/follow/lost’ as a live performance and shown on a small monitor. For the opening, these will be presented as live drawing performances and subsequently as installations with trace element. Their title comes from a short story by the Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. The story begins in the tiny apartment of a man who by chance is visited by a salesmen selling a potion by the name of Quadraturin which when brushed onto walls or ceilings will make the space bigger- albeit from the outside it appears unchanged. In his eagerness to see his tiny space expand he liberally spreads the potion over all the surfaces in his lodgings. Over the next few days his dream of more space becomes an existential nightmare, as the room shows no sign of halting its rapid increase in scale. The tale culminates in the man being lost in space. The context of this project is the ‘Commission for re-measuring space’, which was set up in 1920’s Soviet Russia. Advocating 9 square metres to each person, the commission routinely would check and verified that each individual (if you could call them individuals) had no more than the regulated amount of space. 

Tracy Himsworth

Three days Four nights flirting

“An active line on a walk, moving…… without a goal. A walk for walk’s sake... Linear motion”. Paul Klee ‘The Pedagogical Sketchbook” (1952)


Esen Kaya

I was born in Karachi, Pakistan, but I have lived in the UK for most of my life. My interests centre on a number of key influences; from the poetics of language and space, to the romantic synergy between Eastern and Western cultures and drawing plays a key role in my practice. I am fascinated by the relationship between the written word and various forms of making – from drawing to stitching – approaches that ‘mimic the texture of thought’, revealing valuable clues as to the ‘state of mind of the creator’. 

Lucy O'Donnell

Lines can become anything. Beginning from point lines can become jet planes or tomato’s. For me lines don’t usually become jet planes or tomato’s they flicker between drawing & writing. Lines of question, thought & communication expose wondering(s) in asemic restructure(s).

Sally Taylor

My drawings affirm a desire to understand more about human relationships, specifically my own interaction with others. They are equally about forming a balance between formal concerns in relation to the communication of emotional resonance.

Repetition of motif is an ongoing working practice that enables the focus to exist around the form itself; the way line and other formal elements communicate without other unnecessary variables. Seriality and lineage are key to the process as one line builds a single motif with a sense of the next drawing emerging within the sequence. 

Using found materials, specifically old book covers, enables the superimposition of marks in relation to the personal history of the surface. The POSCA pen appears to be the ‘right’ material. Its ‘awkwardness’ is appealing in terms of aiding communication of a set of principles and feelings. The pigment suggests itself through the form of a pen, yet has an unpredictability with the flow of ink increasing and decreasing beyond apparent control. The imminence of the hand-drawn line is of paramount importance as there is an aim to project a sense of urgency and certainty over a multitude of uncertainties.

Recent work has developed into an investigation of the dynamics of social groups – particularly how hierarchies emerge, how roles are assumed and behaviours are managed. The work aims to investigate these processes that appear to be rooted simultaneously in latent predispositions; revealing ‘unknown’ and unpredictable subjective experiences. Geometric shapes become ‘blockages’ or ‘openings’ and there is a recurring form of ‘smiling mouths’.