Marlies Appel

Marlies Appel lives and works in Overveen, The Netherlands.

Question:

Posed by Dineke Blom: In many of your drawings a female figure is centerpoint. She twists, turns, rotates her body in anatomically impossible positions. My response to these drawings is dual – I relate to them through my own body as well as in a more detached and intellectual way. In my view this response is prompted by the way in which you present and transform the body as such: as an erotic, a geometrical, an architectural entity in a pictorial space. Can you relate to my response to your work?

Answer:

Untitled (working title; half figure sitting, paper, square and circle), graphite on tracing paper, 2012.

Untitled (working title; half figure sitting, paper, square and circle), graphite on tracing paper, 2012

All the aspects that you mention are familiar to me, in particular the sensation of the physical in my drawings – the erotic or sensual quality that some drawings seem to have. I must say that I do not consciously strive for a sensual quality but this seems to find its way into the image during the process of drawing. This holds for any of the aspects that you mention, they evolve from the process of drawing rather than being projected beforehand. I often look for an ‘echo’ within the figure, which corresponds to elements in the space around the figure. Sometimes the position of the figure – bent forwards, leaning backwards, kneeling etc. – triggers such echoes. Or it can be a specific shape within the figure, which I then amplify in the space around it, in such a way that the overall image is transformed into a new meaningful whole.

Space 2008

Space (working title; sitting figure mountain like skirt), graphite on tracing paper, 40 x 40 cm, 2008

As to the (female) imagery in my drawings, I would add that I am particularly inspired by females figures as depicted in Renaissance art, foremost the Italian Renaissance, and in Flemish 14th century art. The mathematical or geometrical aspect that you mention is visible within the figure itself but often it appears as an extension of the figure yet part of it.

Movement (working title; figure walking in wave), graphite on tracing paper, 34 x 29.5 cm, 2002

Movement (working title; figure walking in wave), graphite on tracing paper, 34 x 29.5 cm, 2002

I do strive to discover new things while drawing. Most often this happens through a painstaking process of adding lines and erasing them, over and over again. I react to the sometimes unexpected marks that my drawing hand has made on the paper and this is precisely the kind of activity that gives me a deeper insight into the drawing at hand. Precision, accuracy, are important for my drawing.

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