Book of drawings by Sarah Davidson, with writing by Emily Moriarty and design by Brennan Kelly
Full colour digital print, perfect bound, 82 pages, 8.875 x 11.75 in
First printing (2022), edition of 100.
This book is a collection of most of the small drawings I made between June 2020 and December 2021. They are a response to a specific set of circumstances. Namely: I was stuck in Tkaronto/Toronto in the midst of a pandemic, and felt a deep urge to find wilder spaces. So, I was going on long walks through every park I could get to on foot, and drawing from observation. I was too depressed for a lot of that time to finish anything on a more ambitious scale, and the small ‘plein air’ scale was one solution. These drawings reference a particular kind of natural history illustration, and I hope that they are a bit uncanny. I have lots of questions, like: who decides what is ‘natural’, and who does that serve? How could the world be shown to be more connected, strange and sensuous? Who’s looking at who, and how? Emily Moriarty and I had collaborated before on a project that explored our relationship to ‘nature’, and since we spent sometimes several hours a week wandering around urban ravines, it made sense to me to ask them to write a text in response to the drawings.
Our mutual friend Brennan Kelly designed this book, and also integrated related reference materials and studio ephemera (cellphone photos, marginalia doodles) into the collages that link everything together.
The two poems, Exoskeleton and Rainfall were created using search engines and appropriating text from various websites ranging from animal facts for children to scientific papers. Looking through Sarah’s work, I would pinpoint images such as eyes, snakes, roots, and flowers, to name a few, and search them in Google. The resulting poems are formed by chance and chaos, touchstones of nature.
Sarah Davidson (they/them, b. 1989, Canada/Kanata) has exhibited across Canada and the USA. While they often draw directly from ‘nature’, their works diffract distinctions between embodied self and other through a queer ecological lens. A question floats among the forms: who’s seeing who, and how?
Emily Moriarty (she/they, b. 1992, Canada/Kanata) is a mixed race Indo-Canadian artist working in performance, sculpture, and photography. Her practice maneuvers through expressions of empathy and care, human/plant relationships, and action vs. inaction. Chance and fortuity dictate their art-making and dalliance into poetry.
Brennan Kelly (he/him, b. 1982) is an artist, graphic designer, and educator based in Toronto/Tkaronto.
The Plumb, Toronto
Oct 21 - Nov 20, 2022
Metamorphoses, watercolour, ink and pencil crayon on paper, 12.75 x 10 in, 2022
Vanishing Present, watercolour, ink and pencil crayon on paper, 12 x 9 in, 2022
Camouflage as Organic Defence, watercolour, ink and pencil crayon on paper, 31 x 48.5 in, 2021
Touching Feeling, watercolour, ink and pencil crayon on paper, 10.5 x 7 in, 2022
photos: Alison Postma