David Haines describes his latest series of drawings as a 'romantic, tainted autobiography'. The drawings are based on photographs derived from the myriad of (self) portrait images found on the internet. Figures are isolated from their pictorial backgrounds and reduced to images floating within the frame of the found and aged paper he works on.
The images are initially chosen instinctively; it is through the process of drawing that he discovers the thing that arrests his glance, be it the seam of a dress, a shoe, or a line of pubic hair. Sexual at first sight, the figures, some blindfolded and on their knees, others in schoolgirl dresses, seem punitive and brutal in their execution. Haines' addition of chewing gum, seemingly spat out onto the paper, or dust collected from his bedroom floor, strengthens disrespect for the image and figure. At the same time, these gestures and the delicacy and attention to detail with which Haines has drawn them, suggests a personalisation of an image that was intended to be anonymous in its initial publication. For Haines, drawing is an activity fundamental to existence, which bears witness to the presence of the artist. This presence and the uniqueness of each drawing, Haines believes, is now more relevant than ever in light of the relentless advances in gigabyte digital photography.
Craig Bell, 2005