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DRAWN TO NATURE

Master of Finds Art degree from Lowell Darling’s conceptual art school, c. 1973

"My art has no borders these days," says Lowell Darling. "I am not stuck in
the world of concepts; I am not bound to the studio; I have no specialized
media or socially relevant message to convey. I simply like to draw what I
want--in more ways than one."

Most people are utterly unaware that Lowell Darling draws; and until
now, he has not shown his drawings.

"Like it or not, no theoretical or political issues can alter what is there,"


Darling continues. "They are simply drawings made in the forest. Nothing
special except to me. As an artist these drawings brought me back to where I
began."

After 30 years on the far fringes of the cutting edge of non-object art, Lowell
Darling began drawing again after moving to the woods to raise his two
daughters.

"When the kids began to draw, I began to draw with them," he reports.
"They reminded me why I became an artist in the first place: I liked to push
around color and to draw pictures."
Darling made this collection of drawings while walking in the redwood forest
that surrounded his home in Sonoma County. On his jaunts, he was
regularly accompanied by a red-tailed hawk that had adopted him. Every
time he left his studio, built in a pasture surrounded by massive trees, the
hawk would appear. Darling longed to know where the curious bird came
from and began making drawings to remind him of her various patterns in
hope of solving the mystery. In this way the drawings are like a map, a
visual diary.

It turned out that the hawk's nest was on an animal trail the artist regularly
walked. In the nest Darling could see what looked like a hawk covered with
white flour.

Darling witnessed the baby hawk's inaugural flight from it's nest. Later that
day, above the meadow where Darling walked, the hawk that had been
accompanying him for the last three months appeared over his head with
what might have been its albino twin.

A few weeks later the hawks were gone.

Darling says he missed the hawks' companionship until one afternoon when
he looked across the top of the neck-high grass in the meadow and saw his
hawk flying straight at his head, skimming the tops of the grass. It lifted into
the air at the moment when Darling thought it would hit him between the
eyes. He swears he could see his reflection in the hawk's eyes. The the
hawk rose, circled the artist's head a few times, a noisy farewell, and then
flew away.

Drawing the hawk's habitat led Darling to other things in the forest that
caught his eye. Many of his drawings are portraits of the same tree or rocks,
made from different angles and under various weather conditions. When it
rained, he still drew, and he walked while drawing. In this way, Darling says,
that he doesn't draw from nature, but with nature. In other words, nature
contributes to Lowell Darling's drawing as an actual physical collaborator.

"As Michelangelo said of raw blocks of marble, a formation of stones and tree
trunks would speak to me: The language of plants is like calligraphy. Limbs
create an alphabet. Sticks strewn on ground during storm can tell a story.
The subject draws the eye and the eye informs the hand that pushes the
woodless graphite stick in my hand. I rarely looked at the drawings until I
returned to the studio. Sometimes I don't even wear my glasses when I
draw. It adds to the surprise of seeing what I've drawn when I get home."

Garage Gallery a satellite of Berkeley Outlet:


www.berkeleyoutlet.com <http://www.berkeleyoutlet.com>
will exhibit Lowell Darling's Secret for three
weekends in June.
Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 pm, June 6 & 7, 13
& 14, and 20 & 21.

Garage Gallery is located at 3110 Wheeler Street in Berkeley


(one block East of Shattuck, three blocks South of Ashby).

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