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Drawing Abroad

This article was published under my former name, Brooke Carlson.
Self-published Exhibition Catalogue

“A kinesthetic practice of traction – attraction, extraction, protraction – drawing is born from an outward gesture linking inner impulses and thoughts to the other through the touching of a surface with repeated graphic marks and lines.”1

The immediacy that drawing allows for mark making and repetition becomes an important aspect of the process of the interaction between the hand, the surface and the drawing material. Exploring the ways in which artists embrace the diversity of the discipline, Drawing Abroad investigates the meaning of drawing. What it means to make a mark. A mark in a particular way, in a particular time. It becomes a form of marking space and time, thus leaving marks and traces of the artist’s existence.

Repetitive and meditative mark making houses the drawing practice of Seoul based Korean artist, Paul Lee. Meditation is embraced in Lee’s works through the act of repetitively drawing circles. The reoccurring motif of this geometrical abstract shape becomes for Lee a symbolism of the universe and existence. Drawing for Lee is essentially drawing time. Lee captures a movement through the tension created by the monochrome circles as their placement interrupts the coloured circles. Lee states,

I am drawing time. These drawings are alive, there is constant movement in them, it is contained, but not suppressed.

For London based, German artist Hanna ten Doornkaat, mark making is the process to investigate the meaning of drawing. Doornkaat challenges this with a play of limitations and rules for manipulating the control in which the process takes place. Line is explored through constant repetition. The drill is used as a tool to interrupt the relationship between the hand and the drawing material, as the grid is used for imposing order into this chaos and creating structure in which experimentation can unfold.

Brisbane artist, Miles Hall embraces the immediacy of drawing for exploring the tactility of the medium, its interaction with the surface and the dialogue of the process. An immediacy in which gesture, line and tone intercept within the surface as traces of the artist’s experience. This drawing process displays an intuitive, intimate interaction with the drawing medium. Hall repetitively experiments with the medium in a way that feels challenged – in a pursue to explore as many possibilities of the mark that can be made. It is in this process that determines the final outcome of the work. In describing his recent drawings Hall expresses,

Drawing is tactile and provides an immediate dialogue between materials, touch, movement, force and emotion. Our experience of the chaos of the world is met with the necessary desire to find order and structure, nevertheless the mystery remains.

The drawings of Sydney based artist Jonathan McBurnie exhibit the result of an obsessive and repetitive interaction with paper and ink. These drawings form their being in a manifestation of collaged images sought from a variety of media. Playing with paper upon paper in the initial stages of the drawing process, collages form the preparation for the visual idea. With an immediacy of the nib or brush, ink is put directly to paper, mapping out forms and landscapes through strong yet delicate repetitive line work and mark making.

Sydney based artist Melissa Howe explores drawing as a tool for mapping places and time through a diaristic notion. In this way Howe demonstrates the immediacy of the drawing discipline engaging with the freedom of an artist’s sketchbook – to draw anytime, anywhere. Whilst living in New York City, Howe investigated portraiture as a form of documentation. For Howe,

These drawings signify personal memories of a particular moment, place and time, acting as a visual record of chance encounters with strangers in foreign lands.

Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist techniques of automatic drawing are investigated in my own work. My practice focuses on the performative aspect of automatic drawing through series of charcoal based drawings. Through this performance, repetition, immediacy, mark making and gesture form the process which the drawings are derived from. Their material qualities are reprocessed using silk-screen printing and other remediations, thereby displacing the mark and the artist’s subjective position, with the performative gestural marks of the unconscious approach to drawing.

Drawing Abroad brings together artists from London, Soul, Sydney and Brisbane whose drawing practices investigate the relationship between the hand, the material and the paper. These artists embrace the immediacy and fluidity of the drawing discipline, exploring the language of line and mark making through diverse processes in their approach to drawing. Through Contemporary drawing practices the exhibition demonstrates the drawing medium as a tool for mapping out spaces and marking time whilst engaging with the tactile dialogue between the materials at hand.