hold your hold and swing like thunder...
here are a series of drawings from 1951 by frank colton illustrating various square dance positions. at the library book sale a few weeks ago, the square dancing book was in a box leaning against a book about dances in ancient egypt, and while i have little interest in either subject the fact that they were touching and 50 cents each suggested i take them home and someday perhaps find some connective tissue between them.
when i thumbed through the square dance book i was instantly taken with the incredibly odd quality of colton's drawings, perhaps mostly because of the strange perspective, as if we are sort of looking down at the dancers from the sky (or at least a small tree...).
colton's drawings immediately brought up some of warhols early works, the dance step patterns, but also simply his use of newspaper images, etc. i think it is somehow connected to translation, or a kind of transformation that took place in warhols works when printed images were enlarged and then silkscreened; and in colton's case, i'm guessing, when ink drawings are made from photographs rather than life.
there's a kind of awkwardness to these drawings, although not really connected to colton struggling to draw, as much as these poses and view seem disconnected from how one would choose to draw them from life. of course, the angle he chose relates to purposeful diagramatics, as opposed to aesthetics (although the strangeness probably oozes from them due to both).
but there is also a stiffness here, that suggests the late paintings of picabia (and i might add that i think late picabia paintings are truly wonderful). there's that feeling as if something uncanny, yet unexplainable, is lurking beneath the surface of these, particularly when taken out of context, and certainly even more so, given the absolutely wonderful text beneath them... (i encourage you to click on them to see them larger...)