Tag Archives: drawology


Drawology, an exhibition curated by Deborah Harty as part of her research project, ‘Drawing is phenomenology’ at the Lanchester Gallery, Coventry, featured work by Maryclare Foá and Birgitta Hosea who exhibit their collaborative work under the name Foá + Hosea.

The exhibition catalogue is now available online here.

Foá + Hosea, Traion IV (Coventry), (2014, digital drawing loop, 30secs)

In the old British expression, ‘being sent to Coventry,’ an individual who is present is ostracised by others, in effect ignored as though not present. The phrase may have originated around the 1600’s when civil war Royalist soldiers who were sent to Coventry were ostracised by the parliamentary population there. As part of their Traion series, Foa+Hosea examine and mark this sense of absent presence in a new piece of work created specifically for Drawology.

In the Traion series, Foá+Hosea respond to the myth of the first drawing, in which Butades’s daughter traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall to hold on to his memory before he left on a journey. Foá+Hosea engage with this dilemma     – the impossibility of attempting to hold time – through fixing their digital shadows in place with animation. In the title of the series, the words ‘trace’ and ‘motion’ are merged to reference their process of drawing over film, in which evidence of presence and motion is traced.

Being not present yet maintaining some evidence of presence references Emmanuel Levinas’s idea of absence and presence. Levinas observed how those who no longer exist bodily in the world, leave behind them a physical evidence of their presence. As Derrida in his re-reading of Levinas tells us, ‘ He will not have been (a) present but he will have made a gift by not disappearing without leaving a trace’ (Jacques Derrida in Re-Reading Levinas, 1991)

Traion IV (Coventry) brings to this scenario of ‘being sent to Coventry’ a constructive retelling. On a train journey Foá+Hosea while literally sending themselves to Coventry, attend to, rather than ignore, each other’s presence. Tracing their physical selves as they travel, they also record the journey itself as seen in the passing landscape. In the work, the absence of a presence is drawn into an animated trace, not ignoring but celebrating the non presence through documenting the motion of those no longer there.



Drawology, 20 November – 6 December 2013, Bonington building, Nottingham Trent University

Included in the Drawology exhibition in Nottingham were three short film documentations of temporary drawings by Maryclare Foa.

Line Down Manhattan 6 2003 MFoa

Line Down Manhattan (2003) 7 :05 

An action: walking the length of Manhattan Island, dragging a chalk line from Broadway Bridge to Battery Park. The recorded sounds revealed (more than the images) the different communities and the material conditions of place- triggering my awareness of the vital and phenomenological affects of sound in relation to place.

House Hullerbank Hill 2006 MFoaHouse in Search of Belonging (2006) 13:20

A number of actions temporarily constructing a physical drawing of the outline of a house (from sticks), referencing Bachelard’s Dream House and a phenomenological response to locations associated with my life. ‘Through dreams the various dwelling places in our lives co–penetrate and retain the treasures of former days…’  (G. Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, trans M. Jolas, Boston: Beacon Press Books, 1969. p5).

Dissenters Driftsong 1 2009 MFoaThe Dissenters Driftsong (2009) 9:14

A multivoiced and collaborative vocal response to place (Bunhill Fields Cemetery), evidencing a sonic interaction between place and practitioner- this vocal drawing process is a phenomenological method employing the practitioners body as the drawing tool and the voice as material.

Artist’s Statement

Just as writing, singing, dancing, and scientific research (to name a few creative processes), are methods employed by practitioners to reinterpret, explore and investigate various phenomena, drawing is also employed by practitioners to reinterpret explore and investigate from the observing or imagining eye, ear and mind. In this way it may be said that the practitioner who employs drawing as a process may do so as a phenomenological enquiry.

During my PhD research; looking for evidence of interactions between outside environments and the practitioner while making work, I documented a number of different methods of drawing in response to place. I would define these drawings as having employed a phenomenological process because during the making of each drawing- whether walked, built or sung, a heightened awareness of the self in relation to place and vice versa was facilitated. The camera documented the different drawing processes, evidencing physiological, narrative, material, and emotional phenomena of the process, the context and the practitioner. And despite the temporary material of motion, trace, fleeting structure, and passing sound, the drawings contained within themselves the narrative and herstory of their own making.