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A Short Conversation Between Hanna ten Doornkaat and Brooke Leigh

This article was published under Brooke Leigh’s previous name, Brooke Carlson.
Self-published Exhibition Catalogue

Brooke Carlson: When we first met at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London, we had a lot to talk about! Our conversation sparked through our passion and exploration of drawing in our art practices. Could you explain what drawing means for you and the importance of it in your practice?

Hanna ten Doornkaat: I am interested in drawing in a wider sense. Anything can be a drawing, an expression of the self. The marks on paper is what interests me. Marks are everywhere, they are imprints that we leave and which are proof that we exist. Recently I have started to approach my drawings in a more investigative way which means I have been studying the meaning of mark making more intensely by introducing other media or in a traditional sense non art related media. I believe that a mark in the widest sense whether deliberate or accidental can be a drawing, a shadow on a wall, a bent wire.

BC: How do you begin work in the studio?

HD: I usually have an idea to begin with but I am not following a strict rule if it doesn’t work and I let things happen. The best moments for me are when the work makes the decision for me and points me in a direction I hadn’t thought of but feels right.

BC: In the past few years you’ve been drawing with the drill. What brought this on and how did it start?

HD: As my usual work is often quite repetitive, tedious and also often very controlled I had to break out of this and release some of the energy bottled up inside. I had a wonderful experience from a taiko drumming course which was very liberating. I really enjoyed this but was also felt very frustrated when I couldn’t get the counting rhythm right. I use the same method when ‘attacking’ my sheets of paper spread out on the floor. Depending on what graphite pencils I use this leaves dents in the paper and when withdrawing the drill it leaves a faint pencil mark. I am still experimenting and constantly introducing new media that fit into the electric handheld drill.

BC: This is the first time for you and Paul Lee to show your work in Australia. You both have become quite close friends from showing together in various exhibitions in London. Do you think Paul’s work has had an influence on your drawings?

HD: A lot of my own work is very mediative and in my main body of work there seem to be similarities like the circles and certainly the repetition of the marks which have been there before meeting Paul. But I have always been interested in Asian art. I wrote my first dissertation about Japanese contemporary art which won me a prize at the time. Drawing for me is therapeutic, it’s all I want to do no matter what with!