Dustin Yellin | Layered Handwriting

Every time I get back to the city — NYC — there’s invariably some kind of art full experience that is remarkable.

That is, something has to be said about it.

Some thing happens.

I was walking in Chelsea, trying to check out a show of work by Andy Goldsworthy, and I came upon another gallery that was closed for an installation. Standing there, this person came out. Dustin Yellin. His show, his installations. And we got to talking.

Mostly about his work.

When you see it, you’re thinking that it’s something that is somehow laid into, encased in, some hardened resin or acrylic.

But rather, as Dustin told me, it’s laid in. Layered in, a painting of one layer, then another, then another — each hardened as a concretion of painting. And this slow animation, the design form shifting and expanding, creates a strange character of mass — so the forms that are encased in this slow pouring of paint and acrylic seem like they are floating. And they take months of work. So Dustin does his work on a number of installations simultaneously.

The work might be suggesting the handwriting. Or the handwriting is the work?

That is on the cover of this image that he signed for me. You can kind of see there’s a Tim there,squiggling around, like a lot of his other objects. Squiggling and squirming. I was particularly struck by a kind of Victorian circular object, on a tripod — why that? It just seemed strange, in that kind of peculiar way in which the Victorians liked to display objects of curiosity. It looked like kind of sea creature, encased. I liked that. It reminded me of something coming out of Captain Nemo’s interior design program, on the Nautilus.

The other thing is the amorphous character of the forms, as they spindle and wobble, like brilliantly colored seaweed, silently froze in a cast chamber of ice.

And the invented insecta. Enough to send the insectophobic sprinting. And the character of these are surely gnarled renderings of the primitive and ancient arthropoda — from the imagination.

Still, they feel right.

Here’s some thing.

Is it so, that the rendering of the artist actually linked to the way in which they write? Is drawing a form of handwriting? Is the scribbling of the mind full thoughts like the scratching of the artist? What’s the difference between writing and drawing — both interpret something, don’t they?

I believe, in a way, that it is — drawing as handwriting; writing as mind drawing. Like the draughtsman, a beautiful drawing can come of the skill of practicing seeing, and linking the connection between what is seen, or imagined, and the ability to render it. Of course, some people who draw do so from other indices of perception; it’s not about replicating, but instead it’s about what’s seen inside the mind and imagination. I do both. I’m sure most artists do both. But the link between the spirit of Dustin’s rendering, and the nature of his handwriting, struck me instantly.

I’m sure that you can think of other examples.

tsg | nyc (seen 5 . 25 . 07)

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