Martha Newbigging: “What should I draw?” Exhibition

From June 17th-24th, faculty member Martha Newbigging held an exhibition in the Special Projects Gallery as part of the culminating work for their doctoral studies in the Faculty of Education at York University.

Photos courtesy of Martha Newbigging

As a visual and media artist with practices in illustration and animation, Newbigging used a research-creation methodology that could be described as research-through-illustration. Newbigging’s inquiry examines the efficacy of drawing autobiographical comics as knowledge production. Their research project, What should I draw? Autographics to charm and care for the queer subject, applies a practice of drawing comics about lived experience to queerness in childhood as the puzzle of an unintelligible subject. The work explores their own subject formation as a queer, lesbian, gender non-binary person. Autobiographical comics, as a mode of drawing, is considered as a practice-based method toward self-understanding. Parts of the self are uncovered from this work in the studio; from the handwork of making, from the spaces opened by drawing. The abjection of queerness in childhood is considered as a trauma that impacts the child’s developing sense of self. Drawing comics is used by the author to play with childhood experiences that have been disavowed, forgotten or denied. Making autographics is revealed for its power to charm and care for the queer subject in the present.
A series of mini-comics printed in risograph inks, single-page diary comics, drawings, sketchnotes, and an immersive gallery installation at York U’s Special Project Gallery, provide the aesthetic component of the dissertation.

Throughout the week, students visited the gallery to view Martha’s work and gain insight into advanced illustration practices and ways of exhibiting art.