Pamela Harris

It's interesting to make abstract work after years of making image-based paintings. Abstraction removes the simulation that exists with an image and therefore changes the immediacy of the experience. To put a mark down at random and realize it can never be random doesn't happen when working with images. Making these drawings has opened a door — they've let me get at something more interesting than I can get at myself.

What attracted me to abstraction was how I contextualized it, not with contemporary art but with nudes, florals and landscapes. I imagined an abstract artist in her studio signing her name to a lopsided canvas as she frantically looked for her cat. Making abstract work brought up all my insecurities about being an artist. Inherent in abstraction is control versus freedom; by taking away limitations based on judgment I could see abstraction in a new light and have it cease to be constricted by my ideas about its past. Curiously, the same thing happened personally. By admitting my insecurities and seeing how full of doubt I was, I began to accept my own history.

Like many of my peers, I'm interested in artists who preceded me and art historical concepts. I work with rigor — I work only in a square to remove the horizontal landscape or spiritual verticality, and I construct a drawing without deliberate thought. My mark resembles an arced piece of code and creates forms that suggest the absent: black holes, vacuums and techno-cellular paths. The ‘image' becomes holography, an information network devoid of information.

Making these drawings is intimate. Their numbered titles are dates signifying the order in which they were created, and they are also days that make up my life. Matters of the heart, soul and spirit simultaneously exist in their anxious beauty, adding another layer to the backbone of all my work: how we see. We perceive only as we are and it is our individual reality that counts.