To Draw is to be Human | Group Show | 05 September – 25 October 2015

“Drawing is everywhere. We are surrounded by it – it is sewn into the warp and weft of our lives: we practice it as one of our earliest experiences as schoolchildren, and as parents we treasure the drawings made by our off-spring like nothing else. People draw everywhere in the world; drawing can even be used as a global visual language when verbal communication fails. As adults we use it pragmatically to sketch our own maps and plans, but we also use it to dream – in doodles and scribbles…. Indeed, drawing is part of our interrelation to our physical environment, recording in and on it, the presence of the human.” Dexter, E, (2005) ‘To draw is to be human” in Vitamin D, 2005, Phaidon: London, PP6-10.

This exhibition brings together the work of five artists that use drawing as the centre of their practice; Narrative, Construction, Gesture, Mapping and Inscription could be seen as the key principles that these artists are investigating through their diverse practices.

Artist Information

Sally Taylor – Gesture

My drawings affirm a desire to understand more about human relationships, specifically my own interaction with others. They are equally about forming a balance between formal concerns in relation to the communication of emotional resonance. Recent work has developed into an investigation of the dynamics of social groups – particularly how hierarchies emerge, how roles are assumed and behaviours are managed. The work aims to investigate these processes that appear to be rooted simultaneously in latent predispositions; revealing ‘unknown’ and unpredictable subjective experiences. Recurring motifs of triangles and ‘smiling mouths’ aim to explore Louise Bourgeois’ statement ‘triangles mean danger’ alongside social constructs surrounding the unsaid and non-verbal interaction.

Lucy O’Donnell – Wonder

Lucy O’Donnell’s approach To Draw is to be Human uses wonder as a poetic mode of enquiry to re-evaluate how descriptive syntactical grammars can be employed. Wonder is utilized in her drawing practice as a device to review and revise the world. The work presented in the exhibition employs wonder and seeks to question drawing by asking how gestures are observed, read and subsequently understood by varying away from traditional drawing forms and supports. Drawing takes place through the eye of a camera, observing the marks inscribed on/in/of the world; tracing light on water, gestures of trees moving in the wind and overheard bird’s songs act as punctuations in time. She considers drawing as an opportunity to punctuate and her contribution to the exhibition layers further interjected inscriptions onto her footage remarking upon syntactical grammars by departing from conventions and creating various transitory configurations. All of these observations, or remarks, are united into her animated drawing, imparting and reiterating the experience to draw is to be human



Andy Black – Construction

I have drawings of around a hundred forms collected together in a small book. Some of these forms are objects from the landscape – trees, bushes, rocks, mountains, lakes. Others are sharp-edged and geometric or more amorphous and blobby. Others are reminiscent of topiary or architecture. All the forms are real in that they obey gravity and are rooted to the ground. These forms (to steal Philip Guston’s idea) are my alphabet. Also in this book are drawings that have a different function. They are diagrams of how to organize the pictures (plot, island, field, glade, parterre) – the syntax of my open-ended series of drawings.

There are other constants too: the paper is white and I use a black brush pen that provides an economical mark. The forms are plotted onto perspectival grid so that we have an aerial viewpoint over a territory that recedes deep into the distance. A strong evening light illuminates the drawing so that each form casts a long dark shadow.

In the studio, with these set constraints and door shut to other variables, I construct drawings of imagined exterior spaces. I think of them as drawings of gardens. Some are systematically planned with formal, abstract patterns. Others are allowed to become overgrown where the forms, like weeds, multiply and compete for space.

In making the drawings the forms’ contrasts of shape, tone, texture and ambiguity of scale demand my attention. Once completed, I can look down to survey a whole constructed world. I imagine being down on the ground exploring the pockets of space and paths between the details.

Kate Black – Narrative

My drawings illustrate an internal world depicting scenes from an invented, strange soap opera. This series of drawings reveal characters that come across the 4th Dimension, symbolized by odd geometric shapes suspended in the air, or encountered on the ground.

The shapes transport the characters into uncanny and surreal worlds; they are portals into narratives that I imagine to be like ‘Coronation Street’ on acid. Beneath the ground, men dig tunnels like moles, sometimes getting stuck or lodged beneath the surface; other characters are been spied on through a snipers sight whilst sunbathing in a desert terrain.

Tracy Himsworth – The Geometry of Movement

Tracy uses drawing as a form of discovery and documentation. The sketch map becomes a mental record of her movement through her immediate environment. She records this information through line, using the joints and intersections of the lines to indicate which paths she has walked. The lines make no claim to territory, what counts are the lines themselves not the spaces around them.

The function of the map is not simply to record what is already there but to document her movement and activity. By cementing lines of movement and recording the line of her walk she has created graphic three-dimensional line drawings that document one individuals passage through the world, which exists both literally and in Tracy’s imagination.

Additional Images

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