This exhibition is the result of artists being sent three sheets of the same sized paper and told to draw what they liked on them. Much to our delight all artists employed traditional drawing materials (pencil, charcoal, conte, ink, or pastel) to produce fine drawings, with only a few needing to embellish their work with a brush-on water medium.
My old drawing teacher used to say there is no such thing as a boring subject, only boring drawings when we were charged to transform some lifeless still life subject he set before us into an 'interesting' drawing. Garry Pumfrey proves that a boring subject can indeed make an interesting drawing by manipulating tonal values of the charcoal medium with skill. His series Canscape depicts layers of crushed aluminium cans on his three pieces of paper that are hung in a vertical presentation to emphasize the layering effect. Tenille Baker also manipulates tone well in her drawings executed with graphite pencil to create interest. Scape 1 & 2 reveals the path of the moving point that produces long curvilinear marks ranging from grey to black to create volumetric folds and gentle ripples. We become mesmerized by the methodical movement and controlled repetition needed to create these interesting illusions that have a calming effect on the viewer.
Every medium has its own properties, characteristics that can be exploited to offer visual interest on the surface of the drawing even after identifying the subject of the composition. Andrew Nicholls presents a fantasy that spills over from one sheet of paper to another. His pen drawing Allegory suggests the beauty of Baroque evolved from some primeval garden. But defining the narrative is not as important as enjoying how a simple line, manipulated by an accomplished hand, can create such an interesting and intricate image. Tony Windberg too offers a narrative composition, one that emerges from rubbing the conte crayon into a smooth, soft monochromatic image of home. Out Back: Karratha Self Portrait is a realistic depiction of a warm and welcoming back veranda on a hot day.
When an artist is more involved with recording facts then in making a drawing, the result can be boring no matter how interesting the subject. Thomas Hoareau falls victim to this in his exhibits. Pin-up Board 1 & 2 displays a collection of photographs that may inspire or guide the painter. The subject is interesting as it provides a Vermeer like glimpse behind the curtain to life in the studio but the drawings are poorly finished, lifeless and boring. Quite the opposite is Lorraine Biggs's rendition of the Hairy Myrtle. Her lively marks of colour put down with exuberance on black ground suggest music was playing while she produced this triptych.
Drawing is the armature of all artforms and a good drawing, even if it is a preliminary study for a future work, is an art form in its own right. Nina Sellars displays this concept in her drawings that may well be one step in a process that could end in another medium. However these small well executed pencil and ink drawings, particularly God (as seen from Adam's point of view) are interesting and complete on their own. Meanwhile Hans Arkeveld certainly knows that drawing is an end in itself. In his triptych Where Are We Going? the artist employs carbon pencil to create a poignant narrative that is told in the rhythm of fine detail and blank spaces, passages of information and intervals where our imagination can draw a conclusion. In his skilled hands drawing is both a discipline and an art.
There have been times when it seemed as if drawing died from post-modern boredom but thankfully here we have solid proof it is still alive and still interesting.
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