As a young art student of painting and cinema studies, 1972-1981, at Pratt Institute and New York University, the first American English language translations of French phenomenology and metaphysics arrived at the Madison Avenue Bookshop. These dialogues on perception as a philosophical property became the raison d’être
for Elaine’s drawings and visual life.
‘At that time I chose charcoal as my primary medium for its behavior- as “dust”, “cinder”, “flake” and “charred branch”. I know its proclivities intimately.”
It performs for her as a standard by which a lifetime of drawing is measured by seizing form and atmosphere and giving this material form.
“I draw only on site, which entails the kind of visual life I learned as a field technician at sites of medieval towns in 1992-2000.” For Elaine, “Drawing on the land addresses the primal feeling of land as sanctuary. Casting the eye across a field of vision sparks my earliest habits of perception. I see the chaos of modern times together with the natural land it occupies as a part of ‘world structure’.
“Drawing makes it possible for me to capture that distilled sense of the past and its ability to impress us with its persistent presence. Early films open with shots designed to call upon our instinctive ability to see an overlay of past and present unfold before us. I draw directly on that borderline.”