Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
17 Mar 2009 to 24 May 2009
Vernon Ah Kee, Lionel Bawden, Sky Bivens, Kirsty Bruce, Eugene Carchesio, Sadie Chandler, Sharon Goodwin, Peter Grziwotz, Patrick Hartigan, Gordon Hookey, Jess Johnson, Locust Jones, Maria Kontis, Cassandra Laing, Richard Lewer, James Lynch, Gabriela and Silvana Mangano, Laith McGregor, Sebastian Moody, James Morrison, Dorota Mytych, Elvis Richardson, Vin Ryan, Tim Silver, John Turier, Michelle Ussher, John Vella, Gosia Wlodarczak
I Walk the Line: New Australian Drawing focused on the resurgence of drawing in Australian art and featured recent work by twenty-nine artists from around the nation. While some of the artists chose the traditional media of ink, pencil or charcoal on paper, others worked with video, cell animation, three dimensional objects and performances.
Typically a drawing is made by a motion of the hand that leaves behind a record of its trajectory. Several works in I walk the line explored the subjects of touch, gesture and trace. Others, including a video animation by James Lynch, reminded us that drawing relies on the possibility of its own erasure and that these traces may be effaced. Children learn to produce drawings before they learn to write, and childhood materials and motifs appeared in the works of Cassandra Laing, Tim Silver, Laith McGregor and Sky Bivens. Several works in the exhibition also investigated the relationship between writing and drawing. Works by Kirsty Bruce, Maria Kontis, Patrick Hartigan and Peter Grziwotz featured personal subjects including diaristic narratives, portraiture and domestic themes.
As an ancient and enduring form of human expression, drawing is inextricably linked to the theme of time. Gosia Wlodarczak’s work testified to time passing while drawings by Cassandra Laing and Elvis Richardson explored the idea of eternity.
Historically, drawing has been the cornerstone of art practice because mastery of the discipline was considered to be an important part of every artist’s training. Yet drawing has also been considered a minor art form, since artists traditionally used drawing in a preparatory way, as a means to work through ideas in the lead-up to making paintings, sculptures and other works of art.
A new generation of Australian artists have taken on drawing, not for making preliminary sketches, but as the primary medium used for producing highly finished works. They explore some of drawing’s unique qualities: that it is intimate, informal, immediate, democratic and accessible.