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O'Dempsey, K 2011, 'The spectacle of performance drawing', MA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright K O'Dempsey 2011


This exegesis addresses a series of Performance Drawing events staged between March 2008 and March 2011. Collectively, the series is titled The Spectacle of Performance Drawing. Using a practice-led research methodology, this document discusses my drawing performances as emergent practice and research.

The data from this research consists of a collection of drawings, photographs, digital video recordings and diaristic accounts of my experiences while engaged in Performance Drawing. The research process is constructed and described throughout this exegesis and the research artefacts were created through discussion, performance and reflexion. My multi-disciplinary practice is expanded and investigated in order to broaden my understanding of the potential of drawing.

The aim of the project is to develop my practice – the emergent and skilled process of drawing, through a strategy of using Performance Drawing itself as a mode of enquiry. This exploration endeavours to identify new understandings and methods of image generation in live drawing. Using this strategy, I seek to create an inclusive form of cultural interaction which incorporates the artist, the act of drawing as performance and the audience.

Through performance as enquiry via drawing, I identify and unravel notions of public and private space that reflect aspects of my identity. This investigation discusses the interconnected experience of human engagement through Performance Drawing as an immediate means of response, the aleatoric processes of collaboration and improvisation, the contemporary definition of site-specific practice, the artist as social leveller, the potential for apolitical social interconnectedness through performance, and the possibilities of transformation through art-making.

Responding to music, to the performances of collaborators, and to the audience I spontaneously translate my experiences into line, form and gesture. These drawings become the dialogue of my performance. This research has resulted in a series of public performance installations, the generation of new imagery and the discovery of a projector-drawing device that will enable this experience to be shared by a larger audience. Central to my practice is the notion that human contact through the cultural experience of visual art is transformational.