Collaboration, Space + Time: Matt Shane & Jim Holyoak

“Drawing is a non-verbal way of thinking. So is music. So is math. But, often, thought is only conceived of as words. And animals that cannot speak like us are presumed to therefore not have thoughts, not to have intelligence.” As artists, they are free to let their imaginations roam between disciplines. “We’re looking at all of this stuff this from outside and making our own connections,” says Shane. “And I think that’s something artists are able to do that is very interesting. We’re able to connect different disciplines together, as sort of a connective tissue.”

Holyoak and Shane have done over twenty large-scale collaborative drawings, in addition to their own solo work. Beginning many years ago, as roommates and students at the University of Victoria, they covered the walls of their rental suite in paper and began drawing on it together. Along with friends, they watched it morph and evolve, wrinkling from humidity in the bathroom and getting stained with spaghetti sauce in the kitchen.

Driven by the notion of “going to sleep in the drawing and waking up in the drawing,” their student experimentation opened several threads they have continued to explore – the give-and-take challenges of collaboration, art-making as performance, and durational process-based art. While this roots them firmly in contemporary terrain, they also remain committed to visually appealing work that invites a lingering gaze. “We want to make the best drawing we possibly can,” says Shane. Holyoak observes that humans don’t understand the consciousness of other beings, whether animals or trees, and emphasizes the value of other ways of thinking, dreaming and imagining, both verbally and non-verbally.

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Check out their interview with CBC here!

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