Drawing colour: Between the line and the field. In: Wingham I (2012) Mobility of the Line (pp. 154–163). Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser.
This chapter, written from the perspective of the practitioner, explores and expands on some of the ideas developed through Bullen’s current drawing practice. The paper focuses on three sets of work: Chromatic Fields, Gatherings and Repetitions.
Bullen uses reflections on his drawing practice – in terms of process, production and perceptual experience – to explore the binary: drawing as line, colour as light, and to discuss how the two are interdependent. Through drawing Bullen aims to activate a subtle perception of colour, an aim that runs counter to a traditional art historical view, which sees drawing and colour placed in opposition or colour as something anecdotal to line.
This chapter contextualises Bullen's practice; it highlights connections with Post-Impressionism and references key figures of twentieth-century abstraction, which locates the work in a trajectory that places a particular importance on sensations of points of light and colour, and implies that things are not separated or joined or bordered by line. In particular, he sees how colour was reconfigured in Impressionism as means of exploring the fleeting moment, of transience and conditionality.
In turn, this leads him to make a connection to the meditative tendency of some forms of abstraction, which we can now see in terms of the temporal flux and flow of our realities, rather than as something pointing beyond itself. Throughout, Bullen attempts to address the embodied nature of the perceptual and perpetual present, which proposes becoming, connectedness, contingency, evanescence, indeterminacy, and silence.