New work from Cyprus

by lmuscato

Making new drawings in Cyprus was a really interesting experience and an opportunity for me to reflect on my process and approach to my work.

The main issue I came up against on this trip was time: there wasn’t enough of it. I had to ask myself what it means for me to show work that is half resolved? Is it better to be bold and experimental, or better to start from what I know, even if the result is humble?

Page from the Cyprus Weekly

When we arrived in Cyprus, much of the original intentions in my proposal were put on hold, although now that I’m back to my own studio, I look forward to returning to some of those ideas. I was surprised at how uninspiring the printed media in Cyprus was. It made me realize how beautiful The New York Times is as a reference material – the only one I have been using through the spill series prior to Cyprus.

spill of coffee on the Cyprus Weekly

Cypriot coffee

The traditional style of coffee prepared in Cyprus is what we usually think of as Turkish coffee here in the states. It was difficult to use for spilling over the newsprint, mostly because of the grinds.

The other kind of coffee that everyone drank was instant Nescafé, and that was actually a beautiful alternative for my purposes. The Nescafé has a rich color and nice glossy finish when it dries.

"slow," Coffee Spills in Cyprus, in progress

Above is my first rendering in progress. It is not my favorite drawing, but in many ways a surprisingly good learning experience. The process of working under the gun, with an imminent exhibition, with so much to think about and so little time to actually ingest or assimilate the experiences brought up a lot of questions for me. How dose one make a thoughtful and developed work in a matter of days?

How can I adjust my materials and output to convey ideas without the slow translation of rendering? Are time and process always important and defining aspects of my work? Without the tedium and translation, what is specific about my work and point of view?

"advocate," Coffee Spills in Cyprus © Lindsey Muscato, graphite on paper, 2011 (detail)

For the show in Cyprus, I realized I was not using text as much to describe the newspaper as a object, as in the original New York Times series. Instead, I was more interested in re-contextualizing the original text, and using it to describe my own thoughts and impressions from the time I spent there.

Greek language newspaper from 1967

One of the participating Cyprus based artists allowed me to borrow and document a beautiful old Greek language newspaper from November, 1967.

I’m really looking forward to working with it in drawings to come.