In the Window

Judith Cottrell

Exhibition: Jan 12 – Apr 29, 2012

Judith Cottrell employs a unique method of drawing technique, moving her hand in repeated looping movements across a surface to achieve her compositions. For her Artpace Window Works installation, In the Window, she has removed her own hand from the process, developing a drawing machine or “drawbot”-with the help of Ottowa-based inventor and programmer Darcy Whyte-to translate her imagery on our Main Avenue windows. Built (and named “Mr. Drew”) by Whyte, the drawbot mimics Cottrell’s intricate, repetitive patterning to realize a large-scale, progressive work that will evolve throughout the duration of the exhibition.

The drawbot aka Mr. Drew is an Arduino-based machine that is driven with an open-source software program called Processing. To translate Cottrell’s image, it uses a dual polar coordinate system, as opposed to a Cartesian system of specifying points in a plane by a pair of numerical coordinates along the x and y axis. Mr. Drew translates a bitmap of the drawing into pixels that the hardware can interpret using shading and movement algorithms.

The overall composition will be completed over the course of Cottrell’s four-month exhibition. To encourage viewer participation and to further employ technology in her work, she has designed a mobile website-which can be accessed by scanning the accompanying QR code or Microsoft Tag-to find out more detailed information about the work as it progresses, and to submit suggestions for future drawbot projects. (Viewers can also access the site at


Judith Cottrell

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Judith Cottrell earned her MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2006, and has since shown her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, recently including San Antonio Draws: A Survey of Contemporary Drawing, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas (2011); An Exchange with Sol LeWitt, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2011); Road Show: Houston, David Shelton Gallery at Inman Annex, Houston, Texas (2010); Drop Off Your Drop Cloth, Museo de Arte Moderno, Trujillo, Peru (2010); and Amalgamations 25: 28 Artists for 25 Great Years, Blue Star Art Center, San Antonio (2010). She was nominated for the Arthouse Texas Prize in 2010 and received the Artist Foundation of San Antonio’s Visual Art Grant in 2009. Her work can be found in the collections of the McNay and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Cottrell presently teaches at the International School of Design and Technology in San Antonio in the Graphic Arts program, and works as a surgical technician at South Texas Veterinary Specialists.

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