Drawn In / Drawn Out
DRAWN IN / DRAWN OUT
Artists at The Old Jail Art Center, Albany
Artists at The Grace Museum, Abilene
Traditionally, drawing has largely been an aid to artists in the preparation and planning of the “higher” art forms—painting and sculpture. The communication of larger and more complicated ideas and concepts was left to its big brothers. This is despite the fact that drawing has always been the primary and universal means of communication through maps, plans, doodles, scribbles, signage, and symbols. In the arts however, drawing was relegated as a means to another end. Recently drawing has had a quiet resurgence and become the principal medium, or an integral part of multi-media practices, of many artists. The playing field has leveled.
Drawing is usually defined as a “line or mark-made composition created in pen, pencil, or charcoal, in a monochromatic palette.” Hybrids—incorporating collage, pigment, photography, sculpture, and other “non-drawing” elements—make the classification more problematic. Trying to define contemporary drawing sometimes interferes with the appreciation of particular works.
It could be that the re-defining and pushing of boundaries have helped elevate the “medium” in its hierarchal struggle. In order to move past the question of categorization, it may be better to label a work a drawing simply if the artist (or in some cases, the curator) declares it to be one. At this point we are free to approach a work unhindered by the obstruction of categorization.
Drawn In / Drawn Out grew from a desire to curate an exhibition that reveals not only the diversity of drawings currently being created by artists, but also highlight the inherent possibilities their drawings possess. Concentrating on visually and conceptually innovative techniques narrowed the number of works that could have potentially been included in this exhibit. Inclusion was further limited to artists that have either lived or studied in Texas and were influenced by their tenure.
It became evident early in the curatorial process that a preconceived notion of a “Texas vernacular” does not exist in contemporary drawing. Instead, artists are using drawing to explore a variety of themes, concepts, and approaches to image making. The artists in Drawn In / Drawn Out utilize and combine portraiture, landscape, narrative, fantasy, symbolism, conceptualism, text, and appropriation, conveyed through representation and abstraction. The results are drawings that directly engage and communicate an endless amount of stimulating visual and intellectual experiences and ideas—expressed in ways that painting, sculpture, and photography cannot.
The realization that an additional venue and an additional curatorial perspective would create a larger, more dynamic and diverse exhibition prompted me to ask Judy Deaton, Curator at The Grace Museum, to co-curate a drawing exhibition. I extend my thanks to Judy and the staff of The Grace Museum for their participation and efforts in this endeavor. Finally, I thank the participating artists for their visionary work.
Patrick Kelly, Curator of Exhibitions, The Old Jail Art Center