Kevin McCaffrey

Landscapes have always captivated me, and my work is a series of meditations on this genre. The body of my work consists of landscape drawings that present an intense and contemplative focus on the basic, generative elements of two dimensional art, point and line. Mindful of their cosmic significance in ancient sacred geometry, I often develop them within the framework of cartography, where I explore the complex relation between the nature of creating and the act of recording, the emerging of forms into maps and plans where they play out their archetypal, dramatic narratives.
My explorations have led me to a unique kind of drawing: precise, redolent of the academic, yet based on subconsciously generated forms and landscapes that freely emerge from my subconscious in a playful dance of deliberation and surprise. Lines in my drawings wriggle minutely across the paper without preconceived direction, curving, spiraling, amassing and attenuating until eclectic, semi-representational forms take shape, interacting in fantastical atmospheres and strange settings, a technique derived from the psychic automatism of surrealist art.
These lines cohere, create, and mix with traditional cartographic symbolism, including grids, street plans, towers, roads, fields and forests, et al. The result is a new focus on the use of maps to bring together inherited elements of landscape with primitive-seeming, archetypal themes drawn from the artist’s inner world. The map-like elements sometimes take on a straight- forward character, being lifted from printed maps and road atlases. At other times they take on a strongly subjective bent and become metaphorical symbols for the rational embedded in fantastical realms. Drawn with ballpoint pens and graphite pencils, the figures are sometimes ethereal and few, and at other times squirm and proliferate with a dense, energetic rhythm. I sometimes use different colors of ink, but the use of color is muted and sparse.
Ultimately, my drawings form a convergence of several discourses: point and line as a generative geometry and cosmogony that survey the subconscious processes of the artist (the origin of individual consciousness as a metaphor for the origin of worlds). This survey emerges into a seemingly rational, cartographic context, one where the geography flows up from below, rather than one that is recorded from above. Here, the stage is set for micro-mythologies that pit elemental forces against each other, creating tensions both playful and tragic.