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The grey space in the middle: Using drawing to meet the object half way

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Through the concept defined by David Bowie as the 'grey space in the middle', a theoretical space through which the meaning and worth of a piece of art is defined, this text looks at how Martin Morris and Paddy Molloy teach and develop processes towards drawing on the Illustration Animation BA (Hons) course, part of the Design School at Kingston School of Art (KSA), Kingston University. Their pedagogic process is examined through a set of six images made by three different students (covering life drawing, copying, memory drawing and Virtual Reality [VR]) alongside the respective students' responses to their work and their experience of drawing the images. Through the mental and physical space between observer and object in which new ideas are generated and filtered through the myriad of internal and external processes involved with drawing, Morris and Molloy analyse and investigate this 'grey space' with the aim to quantify the interaction and outcomes that occur between viewer (student/tutor) and object (drawing) and furthermore consider insights gleamed from the process and questions raised. By sharing these observations this paper seeks to demonstrate that the interaction that happens in this theoretical space between viewer and object, which is the malleable mental and physical space between, can be considered as fundamental to both the development of visual communication and how we come to read works of art. This can be applied to the teaching of drawing enabling students to gain insight, ask questions, inform their understanding of draughtsmanship and discover their individual voice.
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Keywords: Kingston; Virtual Reality; copying; drawing; imagination; memory; pedagogy; space

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice promotes and disseminates drawing research with a focus on contemporary practice and its theoretical context. This journal seeks to reestablish the materiality of drawing as a medium at a time when virtual, on-line, electronic media dominates visuality and communication.

    This peer-reviewed publication represents drawing as a significant discipline in its own right and in a diversity of forms: as an experimental practice, as research, as representation and/or documentation, as historical and/or theoretical exploration, as process or as performance. It explores the drawing discipline across fine art, science and engineering, media and communication, psychology, architecture, design, science and technology, textiles, fashion, social and cultural practices.

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