Here is a secret about using old bits of one's own work...at least it's my secret...I'm not sure how it relates to anyone else's process. I think there is a child-like, magical-thinking tendency to imagine that bits and pieces of former work quiver with some unseen force...the way something from the past is like the portal to another place. Re-working old bits of art for me is like starting out with a ritual, embedding the new work with a narrative, a presence, a quivering, unseen spirit. And this search for that barely-there presence is related to hunger and desire I think.
There's also the visual element: looking for that perfect fleshy pink with just the right dash of line while trying to evoke the overall feeling of decay, trauma, fragmentation.
What I hope to capture in work that's constructed with bits and pieces is absence and presence combined. I think this is related to regeneration...like when you look at a baby's face and see a deceased ancestor in the shape of the baby's mouth...seeing the dead and living in one moment. I don't know if this is how I'll experience the Leonardo Drew exhibit, but I hope it makes me quiver.