Body Echo is a drawing installation exhibit composed of square modular sheets of paper. The sheets are arranged either edge to edge or as a function of laying down successive layers one after another as the drawing evolves. The exhibit is made in two parts. In the first part Body Echo drawings are created in the studio. In the second part new work is made at the exhibition site prior to the opening of the exhibition in an open access environment. Selections from pre-existing Body Echo drawings are added to the new works to complete the exhibition. All works are then assembled on-site and pinned directly to the exhibition walls. All works are oil paint on paper or 2mm Sintra acrylic sheets.
The installation evolved into its current form by way of an event that was staged in two parts. The first part was staged at the Freedman Gallery at Albright College, Pennsylvania, and the second part was held at The Art Museum at the University of Memphis. These two venues established a workable structure for this exhibition event.
To see individual artworks select Body Echo Gallery from the red drop down MENU at the top of this page (right of page title).
How it Began
The Body Echo project began as cathartic drawings in 1988 produced spontaneously out of a need to visualize the movement and sensation of breath and heart rhythms. The original question in this work was a combination of aesthetic formality and physical, even biological need. Could my drawing practice reset and optimize the self-organizing reflexive patterns that underlie vital function in the body. Could a drawn line be more than a boundary line? Could it be a line of space and form? Could that form be like a muscle to be stretched and tightened, flexed and relaxed? Could that line describe the invisible Interior world of sensation, could it light up like an irradiated nerve and could it do the heavy lifting needed to carry the dark interior somatic world into the visible world?
These original questions evolved to include a new question. How can an exercise of the body go beyond psychotropic fixation of interior sense perception and find connection in the larger world of nature. How can a drawing discipline bridge the distance between inner nature and the self-organizing underlying form that permeates the outer world of organic growth? I decided that I could let nature train my senses. The Body Echo project has thus become an exploration of growth and regeneration. With this in mind I created an interactive component to the project to test the development of the work. This component is called The Growing Things Workshop. The workshop is a pedagogical outreach that teaches that which I want to learn, part of which is, how to create something that embodies and commemorates the endless struggle for light and space that goes on in manifold ways throughout nature.
The Growing Things Workshop
In the Growing Things Workshop participants representing a wide range of age and experience produce large scale drawings in ink and oil stick on paper at the exhibition site over a one to three day period. An exhibition of the work created by these participants runs concurrent with the Body Echo exhibit. This workshop is also conducted at other times as an independent event it its own right.
The most recent venue for the Body Echo exhibition running concurently with the Growing Things Workshop was the von Liebig Arts Center, Naples, Florida, in 2005.
[To see more on the Growing Things Workshop select Teaching from the top menu]
Go to: http://www.hughodonnell.com/projects/apage/ for information on The Body Echo book.
Hugh O'Donnell, Body Echo Exhibition, The von Liebig Arts Center, Naples, FLorida, 2005
Body Echo Exhibition, The von Liebig Arts Center, Naples, FLorida, 2005
Body Echo # 41, 2004, Oil stick on paper, 102 x 130 inches, The von Liebig Arts Center, Naples, FLorida, 2005
Body Echo 14, 1988, Charcoal & chalk on paper, 48 x 45 inches
Body Echo (LS) 8, 1992, Oil stick on paper, 108 x 156 inches