For Drawing Links catalogue 2006

by Paulette Terry Brien

Rachel Goodyear draws on whatever comes to hand it seems. In addition to the more usual sketchpads and notebooks, her work also finds its way onto a range of materials that are part of the everyday but usually thrown away, such as, paper bags, bits of cardboard, bus tickets, receipts and even off-cuts of wood. Similarly her 3D work is often the product of additions and subtractions from found objects. Don't be fooled, however, by the apparent simplicity and straightforwardness that is implied by this economy of means; ambiguity is everywhere in Goodyear's work. In Two Birds (2005), a pencil drawing on A5 paper torn out of a notebook, are we looking at one bird feeding or eating the other? Is the stag in Woodland Incident (2005) being comforted or devoured by the bear? And is the bird in Untitled (Bird) (2004) trapped by or seeking shelter from the feeding table onto which it has alighted?

Exhibited as a combination of single works and random groupings, the style of presentation provides further opportunities for the construing of multiple narratives, whilst the decision to show the works unframed and unprotected amplifies the sense of vulnerability that pervades them. The precarious situation of a tethered dog surrounded by an unsettling number of cats, is made all the more so by the impermanent lick and stick application to the wall of the cigarette paper on which it is drawn. Here, as in other Goodyear works, the use of the small-scale appears to concentrate rather than diminish the latent threat. It is an effect perhaps best evidenced by Ammo Belt (2003), where, constructed from pencil tip leads and electrical tape, the potential for harm to which the object points seems focused by its diminuitive dimensions.

Whether 2D or 3D, on paper large or small, using pen, pencil or paint, it is Goodyear's ability to consistently create images of unsettling beauty out of whatever materials she employs, and the precision and attention to detail that she observes which provide the unity to her work.

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