The Negative Hand, examines a group of artists whose contexts and processes vary broadly, yet who are inextricably linked by the common thread of reflexive mark-making.
While it is true that the murals in the caves at Lascaux offer masterfully hand-rendered charcoal drawings of prehistoric forms, they provide zero insight into the artist, who she was, and where her urge to speak came from. We can only carbon-date and speculate.
The Negative Hand painting found at Pech Merle, however, seems to be as concerned with creating an imprint of its maker as with forming a finished image. Not only was a human alive to reflect on nature, but She was alive, and the outline of her hand can be seen in blown pigment which is just as much a part of the objective result as the rock wall itself. It exists both as an exercise in figurative abstraction as well as a performative signature, and the body of the artist becomes concretized into a promethean mark-making archetype.
Through each artists' particular fusion of technique and medium, the exhibition evaluates how individual gestures and marks connect to larger systems of communication that relate to the space and time in which each artist practices. A space and time through which their gestures and finally narratives are inevitably imprinted onto.
It can be said that many works of art, especially painting, are composed of marks where the hand of the artist is evident. However, it is crucial to indicate how these particular artists signify their expressions of style through the physical transference of information onto the work, or the lack thereof, and to recognize the unique dichotomy between figuration and abstraction. By defining themselves, artist often define the systems around them as well, and inversely, by defining the systems around them, artists begin to define themselves.