MA Drawing course-leader Tania Kovats started her talk about her practice by noting of her work that ‘one thing doesn’t look like another’. There was no consistent thread of style, materials or even subject; instead, she said
I am the connection
I find this an inspiring idea and it’s something I hope underpins my own work. Tania gave a lecture about her practice as part of last year’s series, so this post focuses on the points that struck me most second time around.
Talking about her MA work at the Royal College of Art she said she worked with light as ‘a non-material material’. The light gave form to what wasn’t there. She returned to the idea of nothing, for instance drawing the bubbles on the top of a cup of coffee. Her later work All the Seas – photograph at the bottom of the post – could almost be a collection of nothing too.
There is another set of connections around time. Talking about her fellowship at the School of Archaeology in Oxford, when she made work about the White Horse of Uffington, she noted that the horse is maintained by local people who scrap the surface in order to preserve the outline in chalk against the green grass. It is not merely old; it has been in continuous use and embodies a timeline of work and significance.
This piece, made for Wiltshire County Hall, used15 sections of an oak tree from the Longleat Estate that came down in a storm. Tania selected 15 cross-sectioned pieces from the trunk and major branches which were dried. She then used a dipping pen and India ink to re-draw the 291 tree rings. They look at first sight like clocks but again they have their own timeline.
All the Seas shown in the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in 2014 was created by asking people around the world to send her water from their local seas and oceans, a task which would otherwise have been impossible to achieve. The overall effect from a distance is a collection of bottles of nothingness, at best anonymous transparent liquids. Tania described the piece as ‘made of people’s generosity’ so she was working once more with ‘a non-material material’.