Mia Rosenthal

People have been drawing for at least 30,000 years – there is something fundamental about observing, processing that information, and then picking up a tool to draw it in ones own hand, with one’s own voice. I relate to this idea very closely, and feel that I’m part of this flow of history, from then until now, of artists who are fascinated by and draw from the real world. Not in the sense of a need to duplicate, but to explore, learn, select, organize, and build through thought and marks. 

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These panels, which are part of my series Found, are ink drawings based on direct observation. To create each drawing, I visit a public site over a period of time and collect objects lying on the ground; I bring them to my studio and draw them one at a time to scale. The composition is unplanned and grows organically. It’s a way of investigating a space, and paying careful attention to what is ordinarily being stepped on. Some of the objects are natural, some are man-made, and some are in the middle (like woodchips and gravel). At McMichael Park, there are synthetic petals that have fallen from the war memorial wreaths, and black walnuts that look like tennis balls. On Forbidden Drive, a wide trail along the Wissahickon Creek, I found a lot of gravel and an assortment of diabetic testing strips. So many pencils under the slide at John Jenks School. And everywhere there are water bottle caps. It’s interesting what you discover when you look closely. Three of these sites are in Philadelphia, all close to my home. The other site is Pensacola Beach, which is a place that holds significance to my husband and me. Although we are from different parts of the country, both of our late fathers went to the Navy Photo School in Pensacola, FL.

–Mia Rosenthal