Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drawing: The Dance of It

Not so long ago the art of Drawing was consigned to the dustbin; in the wake of Modernism it seemed (to some) that it was of little use and the craft of it was, for a while, abandoned in many art schools. But, like the Terminator, IT'S BACK! Drawing is of increasing importance in contemporary art, I'm happy to say, and by the evidence of INDA 4, an annual publication devoted to Drawing, the art and the craft are in excellent shape. INDA 4 (2009) is just out and I'm also happy to say that I'm a part of it. Not a drawing, but an essay on Drawing, one based on the quote from W.B. Yeats, "How do you tell the dancer from the dance?" For drawing is a dance, and like the act of dance it scribes the intimate details of the 'dancer' putting the marks down on a surface. My heroes of drawing have always been those who are closest to the process - the dance - and who partner easily with the motion and the materials. I cite Richard Diebenkorn in the essay and include one of his drawings here. Diebenkorn, who had the courage to continue drawing figuratively when it was out of fashion, celebrates the process by showing it to us - the smudging, the strikeovers and whiteouts - a rich part of the beauty of his work. Matisse is another hero - as much a skater as a dancer - whose line can be a miracle of ease and simplicity. In my own drawings I prize spontaneity and the play of space - usually white, but lately I've been using black to provide an intense background for line - I include three examples. I've also included two sample drawings from INDA 4, the one at the upper left by Jason John, the colored drawing by Aimee Manion. INDA 4 is a great resource for teachers, artists, and collectors: the link allows a look at each of the works in the publication and give information for ordering.