brings together artists whose work celebrates the medium of drawing as a contemporary form of expression in relationship to its surroundings.
Drawings are often thought of as intimate representative works that are preparation for a finished piece.
On Big Drawings seeks to expand classic notions of drawing as mere visual representation into a nuanced discussion of how contemporary drawing can operate on a large scale in planar, constructed, and projected space.
Each featured artist has made an outstanding contribution to an expanded notion of drawing, creating work that engenders a dialogue about drawing across media boundaries, while engaging with large-scale works created for specific spaces.
Participating artists, in 2014, included Neville Gabie, Charles Mahaffee, Michael Paxton, Olivia Petrides, Deb Sokolow, Christine Wallers, and Matt Woodward.
This A+D gallery project in 2014 was partially funded by a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation
Pillar Wrap, Public Art Commission by the CTA, Harrison Gateway, Chicago, 2008
Loop Panorama (flamingo), Hyde Park Arts Center, Sept 2009 to Jan 2010
digital print installation, inkjet on vinyl, appr. 62 feet wide
On Big Drawings :
The show brings together artists whose work celebrates the medium of Drawing as a contemporary form of expression in a number of ways and with different approaches. The chosen works are predominantly large-scale, site specific, and immersive, challenging traditional notions of what 'drawings' are in the contemporary context. Also included are smaller scale works such as Deb Sokolow’s series of ‘Mysteries’.
(shown overleaf: where did the Sporks go?)
Internationally, works by Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, William Kentridge, and Julian Opie, or the thickly textured Black and White Drawings by Richard Serra showcase the strong current interest in an expanded - and expansive - notion of the medium of Drawing. SolLeWitt famously redefined the conventions of drawing, and the purpose of drawings, in his ‘Wall Drawings’.
During preliminary research we were looking for artists working in the Chicago area whose graphic work may be conceptually driven, abstract, three dimensional, installation-based, or narrative. It seemed important that the selected works showed notions of 'trace', 'the mark', 'marks and signification', 'gesture', 'mediation', and 'representation' in a way that typifies the graphic medium as being quite distinct from painting, but which would challenge preconceived and traditional notions of what a 'drawing' is, and what it possibly could be.
The seven artists in this exhibition all made a unique contribution to an expanded notion of drawing, and their work creates a dialogue across media boundaries.
Originally we envisaged to extend the project into public sculpture and outdoor installtion (also including works by Jeff Harms and Daniela Ehemann) but then we had to limit the three-dimensional aspect to Christine Wallers especially made site specific installation ‘Electricity...’
and curated a more classical gallery exhibition, which we believe serves it’s purpose non the less.
My personal interest in the medium of drawing was sparked through a dialogue with Jennifer Shaw over a decade or so, and through links between Drawing, Digitality, and Multiplicity (my more native domain).
Between 2009 and 2012 (CHECK!) I realized several digital wall drawings that were printed in vinyl, immersive and on a large scale, such as ‘Pillar Wrap’, and ‘Loop Flamingo’.
These projects sparked my interest to connect with other artists keen on expanding Drawing beyond the sketchbook, and the idea for ‘On Big Drawings’ was born, and then found the support of the A+D gallery directors and the exhibition committee. I am very grateful to all the participating artists for their support and enthusiasm; this project would not have been possible without the support from the Columbia College A+D Gallery who are hosting the project. Special thanks goes to the gallery director Meg Duguid who lent her curatorial and organizational genius, to Jennifer Shaw for writing the introductory essay, as well as to the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation who generously supported the production of this publication.
Friedhard Kiekeben is an artist and Fine Art faculty at Columbia College Chicago.
Jennifer Shaw studied History of Art at St Andrews University and has a Masters Degree in Museum & Gallery Studies. She has worked as a curator and exhibitions coordinator in the UK and USA. Her interest in drawing stems from her early years as an art student and has persisted in her work with various collections and artists over the last 20 years. During this time she has been privileged to get a close up look at drawings of all shapes and sizes. She currently lives in Warwickshire, England.