Amazing Charcoal Rope Series

August 01, 2012
"I chose imagery of knotted or twisted rope to help me describe the felt but unexpressed visceral world of the mind/body. These surrogate “bodies” seemed fitting metaphors for the tension, frayed nerves and entanglements that we inevitably experience as human beings. Use of distortion and exaggerated scale help evoke less pedestrian associations with my subject while enticing viewers to linger with the sensual qualities of surface and medium.

This series began with the chance discovery of an abandoned ship’s hawser (a rope used in mooring or towing a ship) during one of my early trips to New Bedford, Massachusetts. The rope’s heft and tattered state immediately suggested an exciting series of drawing investigations. Each drawing in the Hawser Series derives from that single piece of Korean War era rope.


In the drawing I encountered abundant physicality: “muscle” “hairy-ness” and “sinew” which lead to meditating on the many evocative rope-derived idioms and aphorisms embedded in the English language. These often referred colorfully and metaphorically to the human condition: “end of one’s tether”, “at loose ends” and “all strung out” being but a few examples. Beyond its former utility at sea, this industrial-strength tether has served anew as an elegant model for my graphical musings on the strands of our human strengths and frailties." - Huguette Despault