May 13th – June 5th
Private Viewing Opening: May 13th 6-8pm. Limited numbers: contact us for your invitation. firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening address: Elizabeth Cross and Hendrik Kolenberg in conversation. Jazz guitarist Pierre Jacquinot.
Seven contemporary artists encounter the world through drawing.
Distraction dominates our age. Burdened with the weight of daily data, our minds clogged with the flotsam and jetsam crammed into our inboxes, our capacity for attention is diminished. We glance, we categorise, we scan to survive. The sustained attention embodied in this exhibition of drawings by seven contemporary artists inverts the fracturing of experience in our everyday lives.
A quiet urgency awaits you in these works. Janus faced, they claim depiction of the objective world but deliver something far deeper and more interior. Sitting with them is like listening to the building momentum of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’. The refrain begins with the simplicity of a mark, a rhythm, a line. The subject swells into amplified presence containing not just the object, but an encounter with time, space and sensibility.
The impulse to respond to the world – both interior and exterior – real and imagined, through making marks is ancient and enduring. The untutored hand finds it as necessary as ever, witness the ever-changing graffiti of any city. Our one constant is change, and making marks has always been a way of responding to time. Drawing based on observation, arising primarily in the Western tradition in the fifteenth century, became controversial during the twentieth century, but remained a continuous practice for many artists. As early as Surrealism, when automatism turned the eye inward away from objects to the unconscious mind, drawing discarded reference to the outside world. Later, in the overly crowded public square of art movements in the twentieth century, Abstraction and Pop both found inspiration elsewhere. More recently conceptual allegiances and new technologies proselytised against drawing in art schools. Requiring long practice and a high degree of skill, observational drawing did not sit well with strategies that sought to abolish hierarchies. Perhaps we still feel we should have superceded the simplicity of its materials or subjects, and its reliance on individual sensibility. But it is too deeply human to be outgrown.
Common to these 26 drawings is a sense of time; of movement or stillness, but not of the momentary. All drawing has pace. It is not simultaneous like a photo must be. A line has to begin and end somewhere, either slowly or rapidly. Tone must be built up, delicately, heavily or anywhere in-between on that vast plateau of possibility. We look into a picture of objects, but the experience of them is remade in a way that makes us aware of the depth of our physical connection to place, and our own experience of time.
Sallie Moffatt writes:
Whatever the ‘field’ or the time spent on it, the visual experience and the process of describing [it] leads one inexorably to the recognition of transience, fragility and impermanence; the essence of nature, both human and non-human.
Trees, landscape, interiors, cities; these seven artists respond to the presence of the world with drawings that will reward your attention.
Alexandra Sasse. April 2021.
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