PRINT November 1983


VIJA CELMINS’ DRAWINGS INVOLVE many traversals. The first is always her own transverse buildup of an image on a page. She tends to work from one corner of a sheet to the one diagonally opposite, and favors graphite because she is “interested in having the image collect.”1 People often remark upon the impersonal qualities of her work, but she believes that “the art is in the making, not in the object,” and that her touch gives meaning to what she makes. Her choice of subjects is guided partly by a desire to unite mark, image, and surface, as they are united in her recent “views” of outer space. The darks in these drawings correspond fully to darkness, and the lights, to light.

Looked at literally, many of her pictures fall within the landscape tradition: they give the travels of our gaze the imaginative weight of passage through unfamiliar territory, a stretch of sea or a gulf of interstellar

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