"[Hsieh] was thinking about how his physical confinement liberated his mind."
A well-known critic has commented to me about my drawings that I am a “prisoner.” Of my own mind, to the work. I don’t see it this way at all, in fact, quite the opposite. It doesn’t make this person’s assessment an invalid critique, but I view it more as a projection of their own worldview.
By locking himself up for Cage Piece, Hsieh was actually liberated. This is what my circles (and dots and lines) do for me. Through discipline comes freedom. The practice is more a ritual, occasionally nihilistic, but at no point in the process do I see myself as a victim, or as someone who is suffering. There is often even an immense joy in the repetition. In knowing that each mark is “just another mark,” yet their combination, relative to the space between them, creates something new entirely. Over the years I’ve seen just about every response imaginable to the work. From people seeing portraits of themselves, to cloud structures, to topographies, to nothing, to everything. For my part, it’s all of it and none of it. Everything and nothing.
ink on paper