Drawing’s Discredited Building Block

Whimsical, ink-laden, and literal—these drawings capture the line’s spatial dominance

From playful scribbles to methodical lines, drawing becomes so much more than the subsidiary product of painting or design. Drawing is often seen as the foundation for visual art and yet rarely seen as an end unto itself. Exhibiting works that have obsessively drawn lines, compulsive repetition and methodical attention to detail, Eyewash abd Gallery Boreas in Williamsburg offer a glimpse of current and common ideas on drawing.

Through a range of strategies, each of the artists tackles the different methods of drawing. Joan Linder’s illustrative drawings of sports utility vehicles and a huge red ink “Red Rocket” scratched out on a giant sheet of paper adds some levity to balance out the intensity of the dominant abstractions that abound.

Artist Lori Ellison’s patchwork installation of paper sheets at first appears as a blur of blue pattern, but upon closer inspection the overall surface is composed of the repetition of “Love” written in a tiny cursive script so many times that the words appear detached from any emotive reality, as if the author was transfixed in the doodles of some co-dependent adolescent obsession.

Opposite this work is a pair of drawings by Amy Kao, who uses carbon transfer paper to build up a microscopic field of delicate patterns reminiscent of organic structures. Kao’s surface and resulting atmosphere are perhaps most compelling because the resulting experience is both dependent and distinct from the physical process.

In addition to the more delicate or goofy patterns and lines that abound, Il Lee draws out a dark sculptural form. With un-ending layers of black lines, crosshatched and scrawled over and over with a simple ballpoint pen, the surface soaks up the light and allows the strong resulting shape to have a presence reminiscent of the heavy forms typical of sculptor Richard Serra.

Each of these artists has a specific approach and the juxtaposition of the work in this exhibition is jarring at times, amusing at others and yet in each moment, in each captured rendering, something wonderful happens, something easily overlooked. Take the time to scrutinize the heart of these subtle drawings.

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