Drawing for Sculpture installation view
Photo courtesy of TSA New York
Drawing For Sculpture @ TSA New York
Drawing for Sculpture at TSA New York is a packed show. The curator, Courtney Puckett, has invited 41 artists to bring elements of their studio practice into the gallery. All except two (Louise Bourgeois and Judith Scott) are living and currently producing work. The organization of this show is a librarian’s dream with the accompanying gallery guides acting as a visual Dewey Decimal System. The drawings are arranged in alphabetical order on a grid, which operates as an ultimate studio visit.
This survey of drawings from contemporary sculptors, all female, is largely non-objective. The fact that it is a show of all female sculptors is not something pressing; it is just a fact. Think of it as reclamation from art historically all male group shows that are not about their all male-ness, but simply about art. This is a show about the process of art making, not about sex and gender.
graphite on paper
Although the title, Drawing for Sculpture, seems to imply that we will be viewing drawings that will eventually become sculptures, it is a delight to find that the show is not only arranged to that effect. The term drawing is expanded from its traditional two dimensions, often morphing into 3-d art objects, written thoughts, and tiny mock-ups for future larger pieces. Some included work, such as the drawings and ceramics of Katy Krantz, could certainly be seen as finished work outside of the conceptual format of this show. As the curator mentions in her statement, “I regard drawing expansively as two-dimensional conceptual support for three-dimensional form.” The artists in this show have included their conceptual drawings. These are their thought forms, discursive or linear, in 2 dimensions and beyond, that get them from the beginning to the end of an idea.
A finished art object has much
thought, planning and desire behind it. It’s often a muddy process, even to the maker. Part of the romance and intrigue of a finished art piece is the wonder at the process behind it. This show lays that process bare. The curator’s decision to arrange the work alphabetically rather than thematically pushes the idea of process and observation of variety. It creates organic connections between works we may not have otherwise made, if for example, all the hard lined geometric abstraction was grouped in one spot, all of the softer forms in another, all of the bright colors here, and all of the writing in yet another location. The result is something unfiltered and authentic, freeing the viewers to make their own connections and discoveries. In many ways this is a very generous show; both in the invitation from the curator, and in what the artists choose to reveal of their own practice.
graphite and watercolor on paper
Some of those muddy moments are my favorite take-aways from the show. I’m referring here to the drawings and pieces of thoughts and plans with end-results unknown. Stacey Fisher’s self-imposed studio rules illuminate the issues she thinks about and struggles with in her daily practice. Kristen Jensen’s scrawled song titles with artist’s names seems fervent and of the moment, a utilitarian recording of thoughts that must not be forgotten. These moments may not be visually encapsulated in their end products, but they are important to their overall production.
While much of the show is non-objective, there are some drawings and notes that reference the body, for example the drawing of hands in Sheila Pepe’s section, which was unexpected, but makes perfect sense in relation to her larger body of work. Other figural moments include the floral and animal of Katerina Lanfranco’s works on paper, which are beautiful in detail, and the humorous comics of Virginia Lee Montgomery.
It makes sense that an artist like Carolyn Salas would be working with Styrofoam cutouts, beginning to break away from the wall to plan her sculptures and choose to include that in this show. Sarah Bednarek is another artist in the show whose drawings are 3-dimensional. Her tiny models for her larger geometric abstractions are beautiful in their own right; albeit, they’re clearly plans for the next big thing. Bednarek’s sculptural models are a beautifully quiet and minimal spot in the show.
Puckett has put together a show that is strong with scope and variety, which happens to be all female without making it the focus of the show. There is a lot to take in here, and the art is enough.
A piece of Drawing for Sculpture can be taken away from the show in zine form with an expansion on the artists work inside. There is also a website to accompany the exhibition: drawingforsculpture.wordpress.com
Heather Elizabeth Garland is an artist working in Brooklyn, NY.
Drawing For Sculpture
Jan 8 - Feb 14, 2016
TSA New York
1329 Willoughby Ave #2A
Saturdays and Sundays 1-6pm
graphite on paper
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