A Fine Line: Celebrating Drawing
by Louise Phillips
The press release quotes Pablo Picasso as saying ?To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.? However, the actual show A Fine Line: Celebrating Drawing seemed to illustrate drawing with eyes wide open. What the artists saw and rendered showed me how to see more. I saw the form and light of a cowboy boot?s toe, the volumes of a doll?s body and the fine shadows cast by wrinkles of tissue paper. This was exciting, a direct communication from the artists to me, the viewer.
How this was done? I made a study of the marks on the paper and canvas. I saw heavy bold lines that dug into the surface, soft marks that barely showed, lines that were made quickly, lines that were layered over one another and broad strokes that ended as smudges, paint that dripped and paint that spread into the paper fibres. I read all of the descriptions. I looked at the paper colours and textures. There was a mastery of materials seemingly married to the intent of each artist.
It was a pleasant surprise to have so much enjoyment in seeing the drawings. I saw the work of several artists done in a variety of mediums, styles and formats. The drawings felt immediate. The paper was shaped by the pressure of the pencil and held the impression of the artist in much the same way a letter carries the writer?s touch.
The show felt ?human?. I asked the woman tending the gallery what the reaction had been to the show. She said that people had really loved it and that they had commented how rare it was to see a show of drawings. And that they liked to see drawings as art in their own right. For me, I felt comforted and inspired. Or perhaps reassured of the value and possibility of artist as a sensitive observer and recorder.
The show included portraits, nudes, still lifes, advertising images, abstracts, animals and landscapes. Sam Lam?s ?Illumination I?, graphite on paper, a white on white image of crumpled tissue using graphite, John Dennison?s ?Passage to Paragon?, a surrealistic landscape in coloured pencil, graphite, ink and pastel on paper and Amy-Claire Huestis?s ?Cinderella After the Ball?, watercolour on Arches paper each showed me so much about what can be done with drawing that I really felt appreciative of the show. And I would have liked to have spoken to the artists, making me wish I had been at the opening.
Installation view of drawing by Monique Fouquet