'Art. Society. Nature' Exhibition observational drawing by Elizabeth Stone
Liz studied Art in South-East Kent and has always visited Margate for the many sketching opportunities.
This project has contributed towards her recovery from mental health issues. Liz currently works as an NHS Assistant Administrator.
The artist has selected distinct yet frequent characters from observational sketches in Margate that convey nature and society.
Economic booms, depression and destruction manipulate society. Our concerns may vary from environment and globalisation. Crisis makes change, whether socio-economic or personal. Circumstances may trap us. Social and cultural perspectives alter. Human nature responds to these attributes and circumstances over time. Factors and advantages that alter society are reflected in fashions, behaviour, attitudes, career-pathways and leisure. And Margate itself is another city of contradictions; a miasma of cultures, class, religions, careers etc. portraying these effects within society and nature.
This project was going to be developed in March 2020. Unfortunately, Covid had escalated. Prime sketching locations- the shops, the restaurants, galleries- were shut down. You had to go out “for necessary purposes only.” Gradually, businesses have slowly begun to open again and I can return to sketching with vigour.
Upon sketching people when Covid restrictions eased the artist became aware that the atmosphere had changed; people in masks, the distancing and queuing outside the remaining shops. Hairdressing now requires suitable protection and caution. Liz has duly recorded these scenes.
The characters the artists sketch are not fantastical. They are anxious, ordinary people who frequent public transport, shops and restaurants. Yet compellingly, they are strong, vulnerable and stoic. Even through restrictions these characters will remain, albeit with adaptations to the environment.
The artist did not want to mechanically copy human nature. The Chinese spontaneous-drawing technique influenced her methods: capturing important features and motion. In addition, her reportage-based influences of capturing figures in modern society included Otto Dix and Toulouse-Lautrec. Devoid of moralising or mockery, their minimal truthful sketches display effects of society and human nature in specific times of economic booms and crisis and serve as historical documents.
Brief lines on white space emphasise ubiquity and anonymity of each character. Alienation and anxiety are made prominent by the current situation and impacts on the economy and mental health. However, each character must not appear “trapped.” Sparse lively lines grasp essential detail, animate each character’s nature and retain the sketch’s rapidity. Jagged quick lines may imply a futurist element, reflecting the fast pace and movement of modern society.