Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 43, July 2014)

Emily Hunt

I made these drawings while living in Northampton, Massachusetts. None of them have titles, and all of them were completed in a few minutes, after a fleeting thought, after seeing something striking, or after meandering through several toss-away doodles.

I think of them as notes: pared down representations of what I’ve seen; quick, compressed summaries of giant moods; experiments with placing one character next to another, with sending one character through multiple iterations to see how its personality changes, how it looks as a member of a community.

I respect objects. They are smart, honest, direct, strange, relevant, tired, mesmerizing, lively, all of it, without trying, without needing or desiring some additional avenue of expression. They communicate by sitting still. I’ve found drawings to be a suitable way to record their personalities, the jokes they don’t know they’re making, the solace they don’t know they’re giving. It amazes me, walking through wherever, that a couple of lines or a single shape can alter the course of my thinking. This power is present in words too, of course, and I’m moved by the fact that a very simple statement or combination of words can pull you from yourself, can momentarily clarify or stand for a large terrain of conflicting responses to the world, to the material one stretch of time presents. I imagine this awe over the little, the basic, the bare and sometimes small, is why my drawings tend to be spare.

I like that a drawing can be dry, like a sentence. Sometimes I walk around laughing at things, energized by the notion (improbable, paradoxical, felt regardless) that nonsentient beings have decided to be exactly as they are. There was a tree outside the Northampton post office with absolutely vertical branches, lined up in perfect rows; it looked at once confident and absurd, so odd it might as well have been suspended mid air, so I drew it. The Western Massachusetts landscape was an especially calm and familiar home for these wonky moments to stand out. Instagram is a great daily outlet (with an immediate audience attached) for the part of me that searches for this humor or emotion in the structures of particular environments, that is amused or moved by straight lines, parked cars, little shadows, weird roofs, pieces of fruit, and cushions just sitting there. Drawing is more physical, though. Making a mark on a surface is a fool-proof, rapid and ancient method of confirming I’m here.

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