Feb. 10, 2003 – A collaborative art show is always a special event, and the new one at Walsh Metal Works Gallery, assembled by 10 practicing St. Croix artists, is exceptionally so.
Its focus is on a particular medium — works on paper — precisely to show how varied work within that medium can be. The title, "The Art of Drawing: What drawing is. What drawing can be," says it all. And, visually, that's saying a lot.
Should the public's interest need further piquing, here's a further enticement: According to the artists themselves, the exhibition comprises "a diverse collection of works that highlights and challenges definitions of drawing." The idea behind it, they say, was "to affirm drawing as a vibrant, self-contained art form and contemporary medium, and to display the multifaceted beauty of art created on paper."
Those artists are: LaVaughn Belle, Luca Gasperi, Chouquette Giraud, Gerville Larsen, Cindy Male, Kathleen Pierie, Maud Pierre-Charles, Anita Schultz, Mike Walsh and Raegan Waterhouse.
According to a statement on behalf of the artists, understanding and treasuring the medium of drawing is fundamental to appreciation of the visual arts "because the act of drawing itself is the quintessential artistic activity, what connects creative thought and artistic image."
For some of the participating artists, drawing is their primary means of expression. Others practice it for self-education, improvement and discipline. Most, they say, see it "as the road map to their imagination." And some approach it "as a total act of invention, its traditional definition challenged."
Within the medium, these artists exhibit great diversity of approach, from academic to contemporary mark-making, in their feel for the materials employed, in formal and technical aspects, and also in the themes they embrace, "from the personal to the politically charged."
To get specific:
Belle retrieves and re-contextualizes old visual icons which were once created about the Caribbean in a socially conscious five-piece set.
Gasperi, who in addition to being an artist is an organic farmer, values the sketchbook practice of collecting "shorthand" visual notations as source material for developing imaginative paintings in the late afternoon.
Giraud combines pencil and watercolor in her drawings, notably of nudes, exploring the boundaries between drawing and painting, line and color, fluid and solid form.
Larsen, calling on his talents as both painter and architect in searching for expressive graphic materials, manipulates metal wires in compositions on paper, turning drawing into a work of handicraft construction.
For Male, whose art is rooted in spiritualism, drawing is a form of meditation; her use of the artistic tools of images, installations or words allows for an immediate and engaging hands-on impression of drawing as "projection of self as object."
Pierie paints in oil on canvas but relies on the fluid and plastic nature of drawing to investigate ideas; her use of pastels in this approach results in drawings which can be at once freely handled and highly colored.
Pierre-Charles, drawing with sepia ink and bamboo brush, uses "Traces of ink," a dance series, to practice mark-making in opposite modes: to communicate or meditate, be explicit or implicit, affirm or wonder; for her, it's an experiment in self-culture for which drawing is ideal.
Schultz, in her treatment of the human figure, relies on emotions and interactions, not anatomical correctness, resulting in highly finished, unusually large colored-pencil drawings.
Walsh, a metal sculptor, upholds the classical ethic of drawing from life and observation of nature in his charcoal sketches. Regular drawing sessions at his gallery/studio bring together devotees of that discipline, excellent for an artist's command of line and hand.
Waterhouse, primarily a painter, explores visual ideas in her drawings, exhibiting freedom and facility in combining drawn marks in charcoal, pastel and water- and oil-based paints with a collage of photographic images of drawings from the same series, each piece related to and deriving from the others in a conceptual, creative and technical process.
The artists collectively acknowledge that the show was "designed and organized with the encouragement and support of Mike and Barbara Walsh of Walsh Metal Gallery in order to advance interest in drawing and foster creativity in the arts." It is open to viewing until Feb. 22.
The gallery is located at 14AB Peter's Rest in Christiansted. For the Presidents Day weekend, the gallery will keep special hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Feb. 15-17.
For more information, call 773-8169 or e-mail to Walsh Gallery.
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