FREEHANDRECENT AUSTRALIAN DRAWING
Free with Museum Pass
Drawing has long been freed from a confined association with ‘works on paper’ or ‘preparatory studies’ to describe a variety of practices that take linear form or trace networks across space and time – from soundworks and maps to sculptures and films. Artists have responded to the flexibility of a medium that adapts to other practices, welcomes experiment and can be extended through technological means. Though today this expanded role is taken for granted, the perennial combination of pen or pencil on paper continues to provide remarkable scope for invention and expression, as this exhibition attests. The intimacy and economy of drawing provide a welcome counterpoint to the hyper-inflationary tenor of the recent past, where spectacle, expense and high finish dominated an art market that became the barometer of financial collapse.
fibre-tipped pen, gouche and watercolour on paper
Courtesy of the artist
Why focus on drawing when many contemporary artists practice across disciplines?
For what better reason than it is a pleasurable activity. Drawing is a particularly liberating process, within which artists feel less self-conscious and can express themselves with directness and honesty. Its immediacy makes it the medium of ‘now’, one enlivened by an element of risk. Yet drawing also allows the mind to roam – to ‘go for a walk with a line’, as Klee famously said – to trace both the visible world and what lies hidden from sight.
And today the intimacy and economy of drawing provide a counterpoint to the hyper-inflationary tenor of the recent past, where spectacle and expensive productions dominated an art market that became the barometer of financial collapse.
Several generations of Australian artists are represented, the inclusions favouring those for whom drawing is a central or constant practice, or whose experiments extend our understanding of the medium. For all the diversity of form and content such an approach may elicit, drawing is an effective equaliser. Whether reflective or observational, loosely or obsessively rendered, conceptual or cathartic – it emerges from a universal human impulse. We all draw – though we may not refine it through reflection or conscious attention. Indeed drawing can describe a multitude of forms and ways of doing: this exhibition offers some definitions.