Subterranea: Drawings by Rick Gooding

For Subterranea, architect Rick Gooding has created more than 70 meticulous pencil drawings, each depicting an imaginary underground realm. Winding tunnels and labyrinthine passageways are rendered by hand, resolving into dense, intricate patterns.

“Subterranea began with a 30-second sketch on each page of a 90-page notebook. I decided to develop each of them into a larger scale drawing using the sketch as inspiration. With only a loose straightedge & pencil, I would immediately start to hard line the drawings, without any measuring, improvising as I went. Shading is done with only a 314 Eagle Draughting Pencil or ground 314 graphite rubbed on with my finger.”

In an era of digital representation, Gooding celebrates the precise and beautiful craft of manual drafting. He works without rulers or measuring devices and carefully constructs his drawings using the most basic architectural drafting tools. Gooding works exclusively in black and white. The simple palette occasionally produces Escher-esque qualities. Subversive flips of figure/ground and slips in optical logic confuse the readings of these rigorously constructed drawings.

These eerie illustrations inspire comparisons to Aldo Rossi’s stark linework, as well as to Surrealist painter Giorgio De Chirico’s forlorn cityscapes, in which the urban realm is inhabited as often by headless statuary as by human citizens. Gooding’s imagery evokes engine works and machine constructs, echoing power plant architecture as much as maze-like buildings for human habitation. Yet, however provocative, Gooding’s spaces are ultimately inaccessible.

Subterranea: Drawings by Rick Gooding first premiered at Woodbury School of Architecture’s WEDGE Gallery in January 2012.