New York, NY
Kenyon Class of ’14, Studio Art major
“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
Everyone in our generation seems to have an attention problem, and that does not exclude myself. Flat Universe is a glimpse into my world of sensory overload. The obsessive nature of the piece, the small details, the incessant repetition, represent at the same time the thousands of distractions we face everyday, but also my escape from those distractions. I use drawing as a way to keep my mind active, ironically, while working somewhat mindlessly.
I’ve always been a doodler. Even before I knew I loved to draw, I filled the margins of notebooks with patterns of hearts and stars. Obviously, this project is more than something I would scribble in the back of a notebook in another class. I wanted to take my drawings off the margins and expand them until they overwhelm the viewer. I draw every line by hand, using a nib pen and ink. While it is harder to work manually, I decided that the process was more important to me than the possible advantages of digital work.
Just as the semi-rigid symmetry of the triangular segments signifies the chaos of everyday sensory perception, the melting, drooping lines symbolize an escape. Drawing itself is my escape, so this piece depicts both my anxieties and my relief.
I’m not a religious person, but I think the above Talmudic quote can be applied to the process of creating art. Because of the endless small detail in my work, I never know when I am finished. I cannot tell definitively if a piece is as complete as I really need it to be, and so I always feel I need to keep working.
— Sarah Morgan Cohen-Smith, ‘14