Drew Beattie and Daniel Davidson

Article excerpt

By collaborating on 100 small drawings over a one-and-a-half year period, Drew Beattie and Daniel Davidson opened up an odd, quasi-memorial space between them. In that space, over the course of their collaborative enterprise, a kind of notational, childhood presence emerged: a lone, male character who represents an eerie amalgamation of both artists' identities. More a psychic presence or an emotional tone than a drawn figure per se, this character dons various guises. In terms of style, it fluctuates between a Rorschach blot, a kind of adolescent cartoonlike scrawl, and an almost medieval grotesqueness that recalls Pieter Bruegel's drunk and tormented peasants. As for its figural incarnation, it most often finds expression in the recurring image of a hanged man and in a mirroring of images and words--for example, the word "no," when folded over, doubles into "noon."

As an image, the hanged man is a metaphor for the suspension of ego identity necessary to collaboration. As an imagemaking procedure, the doubling of words and images is a metaphor for the way we see ourselves reflected in another's eyes, thereby achieving greater degrees of self-awareness. Together, these metaphors drive and stand for the collaborative process. They also suggest a psychoanalytic undercurrent in which monsters unfold out of Rorschach symmetry, and this is how the drawings--as a kind of psychic body--become memorial. …