The Drawers - Robin Tewes   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Robin Tewes

Robin Tewes has been on a dogged pursuit of understanding with a Zen persistence that interprets her research with the simplicity of a Koan. As in a Koan, the original question posed has an element of the nonsensical and yet the answer is an illumination. What makes up the domestic environment? Since the rooms that Robin Tewes draws represent an interior where the majority of North American women spend their days - the furniture is mid-range, even the size seems 'normal' - and noticing that she has drawn and painted these typical spaces for years - what has her search revealed? The pieces speak the answers in the aberrations from normality that occur within the picture frame, like a message read between the lines or a subliminal voice-over.

To have recorded these spaces connotes that she has observed and documented them. Has she invented rooms, or are they rooms remembered where the details are specifically tied to impressions that were large enough to leave a mark on her consciousness? The insignificant details would have faded away so that the import of the room leapt forward and assumed the attention. To read the messages scribed on the walls (or in an instance on a table top) requires an attention to detail. Often the words have been written and then erased as if the significance of the message is not worthy of being viewed or, if it is a visual, the relationship to the environment is tangential as in the ink blot images. A timorous stance has been taken to the intrusive presence. It is revealing and necessary to spend the time reading, for this is not a loudly proclaimed declaration of being. The walls are whispering. What do they whisper? They say that they have forgotten something, they ask why he is always late, they list the groceries and they talk about art. At the same time as the Cy Twombly-like scribble registers, the words themselves communicate the artist's thoughts about her discipline.

Within quiet domestic environments, aesthetically arranged, chosen with a particular eye for order and cleanliness, in the intact, pristine expressions of place - Robin Tewes is firm and exact in her presentation of her world. She turns the potential to be picayune, the nonsensical aspect of her Koan, into a dignified illumination. It is the skew in the picture that heightens the revelation - the scribbled insistent messages, often confused and muddled like the niggles of things lost or a reminder to focus - on art, on love, on anything outside of the perfect pristine, seemingly normal, room.

Julie Oakes Copyright 2008 Headbones Gallery