|Catalog cover: Carin Riley, Belinda (2010), Out of Line. Slag Gallery, NYC|
Before we are taught to perceive a line in terms of letters and words, we respond to line as pure line: scrambles, curves, loops, straights. Each shape has a different hum, a different vibration, character. Molly Stevens’s giant ink drawings on paper (Ink Mountain, 2009) have that primal quality, have palpable personas. In an elemental motion, the line surges from the bottom to the top, hovers up there, then plunges down to the baseline. Tall as humans, a pair of lines double each other, one awkwardly spooning the other. These are giants entreating, murmuring, humming. Stevens draws them with a brush attached to a stick in one continuous motion from beginning to end, placing herself at a distance from the page, a distance that allows for accidents, for change. There are countless attempts, but only occasionally does it resonate. There’s one in a heap of them in which the lines make the right sound.