ALAN E COBER
Referenced in Eye magazine's Olivier Kugler article, Alan Cober is an American graphic artist know for, among other more commercial work, his book 'The Forgotten Society'. A collection of reportage drawings that examines the lives of three communities hidden from society's view - nursing home, prison and mental institution.
The drawings are responsive, expressive and loose. Drawn in ink - possibly dip pen - and seeming to shun representational reality (perspective, relative scale and proportion) in favour of a less polished but more real and honest approach. The suggestion being that we're not simply being show what Cober saw, we're also sharing his emotional response to being in these three environments.
The influence of Cober's work, particularly this collection, on Kugler is evident. The same disregard for complete accuracy, the same playful handling of perspective, the same joy in object detail, not to mention the use of handwritten notation as an integrated illustrative element. Kugler is also interested in bringing us to experience uncomfortable and
difficult life experience - his current work focuses on Syrian refugees - that we'd likely, at best, view from a removed distance through a lens. The camera lens whilst being arguably more honest in terms of representation does not allow for easy inclusion of the artists emotional state or feelings.
What are my first thoughts on pouring over 'The Forgotten Society'? That I should be more open to looser, more expressive and responsive drawing rather than aiming for a collection of 'good' drawings. I should be more honest in my response. Very often 'mistakes' are what lead to an interesting and engaging drawing. I should be more open to letting this happen. Perhaps exploring different approaches to drawing as well as different drawing materials and surfaces.
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