Drawing A Blank (2019)

Located adjacent to the west wing of Hotel Henry in Buffalo, NY, is a land-based work of art entitled Drawing A Blank.   The artwork is a garden plot in the shape of a trapezoid that appears to be a rectangle when viewed through a camera from a marked interior viewpoint.  If one disregard the perspective of the camera, the illusion vanishes and the plot once again appears to be a trapezoid.  Aside from being a visual parlor trick, Drawing A Blank is a commentary on how context and photographic framing influence one’s perception of land-based works of art.       

     During year one, Drawing A Blank will be seeded with flax (Linum usitatissimum), the plant traditionally grown in Europe and North America for the production of artist paper and canvas.  The intention behind planting Drawing A Blank with flax is to symbolically transform the garden plot into a deconstructed blank canvas, a living painting, something connected to the history of the Western art tradition through being a physical embodiment of that tradition’s material base.      

At the conclusion of the first growing season the flax will be harvested and processed into various art supplies, which will then be sent out to a select group of local artists.  By using these materials as part of their own creative processes, the selected artists will develop works that exemplify the idea of local art influenced by regionally sourced materials.  This collection of work will be shown in an exhibition entitled Slow ART, scheduled for the spring of 2020.

     During subsequent years, Hotel Henry’s Micro-Farms Program will administer Drawing A Blank and offer it to aspiring urban farmers as an opportunity to produce culinary plant products for the 100 Acres Kitchen.  Though the crops grown within the garden plot will change over the years and be less directly tied to the history of art through materiality, Drawing a Blank’s anamorphic structure will continue to call into question how context and photographic framing have the potential to influence one’s perception of a garden plot as a work of art.