Drawlings

A drawl marks you, whether intentionally or not, as having a geographic past, with all the associative baggage that locale carries. This slow inflection can surface unexpectedly, even after a long absence from the place of its origin. Some may work diligently to remove this mark, only to find later that they somehow miss its enduring familiarity.

My sand drawings, “drawlings,” are elegies of loss and absence. Each image formed through its own displacement, lines formed through the removal of sand, laments the condition of its exile. Each drawing is a moment rooted in rootlessness. Simultaneously, it represents the speed with which the mark is made and the ease with which it can be erased.


Jenny Rogers

"Fallow," Sand on acetate, 4' by 8', by Jenny Rogers

We are like grains of sand upon a field, gathering in pockets, only to be subject to our inevitable displacement. My “drawlings” embody a moment of transformation. Their movement elegizes the erosion of the land, the whip of wind that scatters dust. They depict the presence of a shadow, the play of light through air, the threadbare homestead no longer in existence, a drawing based on the blurred photograph you barely recall.

In their fragility, the drawings reflect our own flimsy casing, each surface a transparent skin. Like celluloid, they act as a screen for our own psychological projections—an atmosphere colored and clouded by ambivalence. “Drawlings” examine the residuals of experience, the complex nature of memory and our delicate relationship to our own mortality. They embody the hometown you cannot return to, the place that was yours, now in memory more intimately possessed.

My work seeks to create a landscape in sand, which speaks of its own personal history, migration, the passage of time and memory's melancholic effects. The “past,” states Stuart Hall, is “always constructed through memory, fantasy, narrative and myth.” “Drawlings,” like cultural identities, function as shifting, unstable points within a larger historical framework. In its deterioration, the drawing, itself, will be reduced in the end to a ghost; the body reduced to ash. What you remember of the piece, ultimately is what you are left with—a living presence, an imprint of the past.

Jenny Rogers is a native Nebraskan and M.F.A. candidate in Visual Arts; jar401@psu.edu. Her advisers are Robert Yarber, M.F.A., professor of art; ray5@psu.edu; and Micaela Amato Amateau, M.F.A., professor of art and women's studies, 305 Visual Arts Building, University Park, PA 16802; 814-865-9700; mxa17@psu.edu. “Drawlings” received first prize in the Visual Arts category of the 2002 Graduate Exhibition.

Last Updated January 01, 2003