Images of Laith McGregor’s drawings have been everywhere lately, but they hadn’t really made an impact on me until just today, when I finally sat up and took notice after seeing Woke On A Whale Heart. He must be a grower, because now I can’t stop looking at these images, and have been trying to figure out specifically why.
I think it is something to do with an inherent sadness, perhaps created by the drawings’ relationship to the passage of time. Overtly, we have the extensive time and patience required to make a drawing with a ball point pen. In turn, use of a biro is connected to the practice of doodling – universally used to while away the hours.
The second part of this is the hair of McGregor’s subjects. Not only do the beards and moustaches pictured operate within a historical context, but the hair in these works seems eternally growing. Does hair really continue to grow after a person has deceased? So the story goes. It is as though the subjects of McGregor’s drawings have become stuck in time, watching with faraway eyes and unable to move, as their hair grew down around their feet.