Magazine article Artforum International

Edgar Arceneaux: UCLA Hammer Museum

Magazine article Artforum International

Edgar Arceneaux: UCLA Hammer Museum

Article excerpt

Edgar Arceneaux's Drawings of Removal is less a set of drawings than a perpetually in-progress studio space inaugurated in 1999 following a trip the artist and his parents took to his father's hometown of Beaumont, Texas. Contemporary Beaumont barely resonated with what the father distantly recalled after four decades' absence or what his son had visualized from family stories. Covering walls with paper; sketching, doodling; adding more paper; cutting through to reveal underlying layers; transplanting fragments between sheets; and playing with spatial orientation and expectation, Arceneaux uses drawing as means and metaphor for negotiating memory.

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Comprising multiple visions of houses, fields, a graveyard, and an apparent industrial site and based variously on observation, recollection, invention, or all three, the growing accumulation of drawings is competently though not fastidiously rendered in pencil and ink as well as other materials like foil tape. Though connected to specific memories, it's ultimately about the matter (read both: "issue" and "stuff") of constructing memory in general and as an aspect of art. As artists from Joseph Beuys to William Kentridge have posited, when piecing together the unrecoverable, the process ends up as the product. Arceneaux's scenario includes not only his erasures and notations but tape, pushpins, reference materials, and the shipping containers that have brought the project from one location to the next. …

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