'Willendorf Venus', Claude Heath, 1997
Oil, pastel and gesso on canvas
Heath's painting explores theoretically the act of drawing. It charts his attempts to draw blindfold a plaster cast of the Willendorf Venus. The figure is one of the best known primitive sculptures in existence.
Heath moved his finger along the outline of the figure and made what he thought was an identical mark with his other hand holding his pencil. After he thought he had gone all over the figure he rotated it through ninety degrees and started again.
The work questions some of our most basic assumptions about the making of a painting: the importance of control over spontaneity; the role of cultural icons such as the Willendorf Venus in western art, even the degree to which painting is a visual activity at all.