Bryan Cantley is a master of his own visionary form of architectural rendering. His work puts an emphasis on experimentation and self-expression through the acts of drawing and model building. The Forum spoke to him about “Drawings Lie”: Recent Works by Bryan Cantley, on view at The Christopher Mount Gallery through May 20.
Why did you name the show Drawings Lie?
There are several ways to answer that. Christopher Mount (the show’s curator) chose this based on conversations about a lecture/writing I had previously constructed. I think the context statement was “drawings lie—or they tell you the untruths you want to hear….” Perhaps another way to describe this might be to say, “drawings produce artificial mythologies.” Drawing, like text, has the opportunity to produce a myriad of readings and interpretations. Since architectural drawing is often about reduction of information and absolute truths, my initial take on architectural representation is to obfuscate that initial role of a truth-maker, and to challenge to typical relationship of occupant/viewer to the subject matter. What truth do they tell you?
What would you say is architecture’s current state of representation?
I think we are in an extremely fragile/critical stage in architecture (including education as well as drawing itself). There is a blur of media output that is very intoxicating, if not only for the potential of misinformation and reinterpretation—drawings lie—that an evolution allows. I think we are at the beginning of a new bloom/direction in representation as a research/explorative tool, as opposed to using it only as showing off one’s rendering chops. The difference between rendering and representation might be a more poignant inquiry. Architecture is still invested in the hyper-documentation of “the thing”. There is an opportunity to go beyond that mindset.
What type of spaces do you like to explore in your drawings?
Those that cannot/should not/might not be “built”. There has always been a series of multi-temporal space and non-stable environments (both the drawing and the subject matter) in my drawings. I might venture to say that if one sees a singular object/space/time in the drawings, then they (the images) have not done their job. They explore many ideas, including a search for what is not currently known, within the artifact of a single, flattened object.