Charles Livingston’s installations of accumulated marks and aggregate forms imply the infinite in their endless repetition. He
both seeks and offers an experience of existential expansion as he generates dense pieces from simple systematic activity. We
participate with him in an ironic mechanism; a macrocosm appears out of a microcosm of specific moments in which time,
place, an self drop away.
– Monica Bock, Associate Professor of Art, University of Connecticut, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________
Charles Livingston’s work is about process. His drawings exist as the byproducts of a series of repeated actions, conceived and
meticulously carried out by the artist. An important distinction exists within his overall production between drawings that are
either internally (coming from the body) or externally (based on limits outside the body) directed. His “Body Motion Drawings” are
generated from the accumulation of marks formed by the repetition of basic bodily gestures, such as the extension of an arm
away from the body or the movement of a hand in a counter clockwise circular motion. Other works are derived from a
predetermined set of parameters; working from left to right a 45 degree angle is dawn every 1/8 inch on a sheet of paper. The
actions end when the long rolls of paper on which he works run out.
Whether Livingston is working from an external or internal source, repetition is crucial. Simple shapes and marks are selected
that are intentionally void of overt self expression, Meaning, according to the artist, is derived from the process itself. His
accumulative method of creation becomes almost meditative in its regularity. “Working is about that specific moment, of being
mindful of the task at hand, “ states Livingston, “a rhythmic concentrated engagement to the point of transcending the physicality
of the activity.”
Through the physical display of his drawings, the artist attempts to recreate something of the actual moment of production. If a
drawing was created in a vertical position, it will run down the wall, if it was drawn on the floor, it will be presented as such.
Livingston has also amassed an extensive catalogue of sound recordings of his drawing sessions. With the addition of listening
stations positioned next to the works on display, visitors can hear the tapping of the artist’s pencil on the paper as they view the
actual drawings, placing the work in a sort of “real time.” In this multi-sensory installation, the viewer is asked to enter the work
through the artist’s perspective.
– Meridith Malone, 2005, Going Through the Motions: Installations and Drawings by Charles Livingston, Peng ______________________________________________________________________
PDF Review by Andrea Kirsh for InLiquid, Philadelphia click here.
Charles Livingston Studio