Drawing Practice / Driving Range
Julian Hocking’s work generally falls under the rubric of drawing yet defies any easy attempt at categorisation. His practice for making art – which in his new exhibition he likens to the game of golf – mimics the slick applications of commercial printing and general processes of mass-production; returning these mechanical approaches of art-making to the artist’s hand and allowing for new networks of visual relationships to form.
His new show at the gallery entitled Drawing Practice Driving Range takes stock from activities and proposed skill-sets that require a potential amount of acuity and an uncertain kind of luck in order to be ‘pulled off’. Similar to how sign writers pride themselves and glorify the perfectly executed ‘one shot’ brushstroke – and much like a golfer’s ability to hit a hole-in-one – the concept of physically manoeuvring an object with extreme precision successfully in one go is what Hocking turns our attention towards in his new exhibition.
One large image occupying an entire wall of the gallery depicts a circular cog-like shape (or ball) teetering on the edge of a sharp cliff face. Viewed in isolation, the image index’s a mapped attempt at compositional folly, where the elements and application combined parallel the arbitrary nature of sporting events. The tangible suspense the image creates can be credited to Hocking’s trademark arrangements of shapes, tones, and forms that combine ink-blocked and hard-edged graphic intervals which often give way to gestural and drawn indentations that cue the eye to travel around his images. Other works feature a series of 18 drawings that playfully equate Hocking’s approach to work within the strict visual parameters he sets himself in how they all consistently feature a flag-like motif and, again, the depiction of a circular shape; perhaps alluding to the one spot a golfer wants their ball to land amidst challenging terrains – and the perfectly circular, small abyss they hope their ball will vanish into. The 18 iterations could also serve as a homage to the intimate functioning and co-ordination between hand, eye, and object – which all work together in unison when arriving at a desirable outcome – time and time again.
Often crediting his work numerically and under the description of ‘mixed media’, the works that make up Drawing Practice Driving Range unite the abundant selections of inks, pigments, graphite and paper stocks Hocking employs and from which he creates. In addition to featuring the body of work that made it into the show (which has come from a vigilant process of culling and editing) Hocking pushes forward with the ad-hoc processes and bastardised techniques he has developed over time into new aesthetic directions in both sophistication and appearance; playing his own game without a rule book – keeping a score-card in close check all on his own.