John Wallbank’s sculptures and drawings are a compelling exploration of the gap between thinking and doing: between thought and a material object. He starts by working out or remembering something, and the work advances as a conglomeration of notes to himself, realised in the most immediate and efficient means. Just as a drawn line proceeds from head to hand so its sculptural analogues: a slice, fold, gap or seam, are made manifest. Similar analogies might be drawn between colour and material or surface treatment. This could result in a vast sculpture or a small paper work, but they are united in a singular approach to making that does not demarcate boundaries between thinking body, tools and materials – much as picking up and using a stick, we feel as if we are touching the world at the end of the stick, not (usually) as if we are touching the stick with our hand.
Wallbank sees his drawings (and drawing in general) as, at the most fundamental level, binary systems incorporating lines and surfaces – an extension or equivalent of his sculptural practice albeit with different rules of gravity and balance. Made from moulded fibre glass sections hinged together with wire, his new sculpture is also a physical system requiring two distinctly functioning materials; remove either one and it will fall apart aesthetically as well as structurally.
The artist’s book Drawings published by Arcade is available (£20). The book is a collection of ‘notes’ made on a simple e-reading device that formed a visual diary of Wallbanks’ time during his participation in the Triangle Artists’ Residency Programme, New York in 2013.