with drawing, love
The exhibition is one of the better shows at NAFA gallery, with a rigorous conceptual raison d’etre, several exemplary modes, presentations and representations of the ubiquitous process called ‘drawing’. Artists here do not simply retreat, taking a step back to examine some of their time-honoured practices, they experiment with drawing.
Artists love to doodle. Drawing is often claimed as the most fundamental products and processes of art making. Drawings capture imagination, and propels it; often a state of transition to more finished works. What is considered finished? In drawing and indeed in other art forms? Drawings here, are conceptual, some child-like (not childish), others embellished in techno-fever leaving the viewer bemused. Drawing is fun and engaging, depending on the frame of mind, artists and young children , mature artful audiences and casual art-goers alike.
The exhibition explores various artist’s relation to the word. Some chose to explain and describe the word as a verb, and display the processes of drawing and the by-products, such as Andrea Weschler’s ‘Round the Drawing’ or Tang Ling Nah’s ‘outside, within, smudge and swimming in charcoal‘ (I’ve probably got the title wrong and will fix it when i can). Some see drawings on paper as what they are, scribbly lines on delicate paper, and the meaning imbued only by the viewer. Joshua Yang’s hardcover book compilation of 700 drawings by students of Pathlight School seem to suggest that as I hurriedly and guiltfully flipped careless through it. Others extend the meaning of drawing, pushing the boundaries of drawing in concept and material, especially seen in Hong Sek Chern’s ‘Automatic Drawings with Form’ series. Here, Sek Chern abandons her Chinese traditional ink, award-winning grid formula for an experimental piece with enjoyable results. It is raw, like 3-Dimensional doodles in space, forming an uninhabitable architectural model.
I suppose the viewer will get the sense that there is no fix model to drawing – you can draw and shade from light to dark or light to dark; you can draw a line on the landscape by walking back and forth countless times to make a Mark (Richard Long); you can perhaps un-draw, just like how Robert Rauschenberg erased Willen De Kooning’s drawing in 1953, to perhaps suggest the process of mark making and mark-negation, in destroying something you create something new. Perhaps we will all sharpen our minds and pencils a little, drag that cartridge paper out from the store or steal napkins from the next take-away to indulge in our little imaginations, withdrawing from the real world only to exercise the next step forward, stronger and refreshed.
The (free) catalogue is a must have.
Till 2 November, NAFA Gallery 1 & 2.
4.0 of 5 stars.