Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Post by Catherine Shelburne

Drawing Exhibition Comes to Georgetown College: Experts’ Theories on Drawings, Methods, and Artist Selection

By: Catherine Shelburne, freshman, intended art major

All that attended Tuesday’s “State of Drawing” found the gallery show to be impressive. The Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery currently holds drawing samples that represent art faculty from almost every college in Kentucky. Many of the artists whose work is shown said they enjoyed the range of pieces, and one artist, Russel Weedman of the University of the Cumberlands, described the show as “beautiful and diverse.” It goes without saying that everyone enjoyed themselves and the artwork, but I found myself enraptured not just by the breathtaking artwork but also by the round table panel discussion. Moderated by our own Professor Boris Zakic, the panel consisted of gallery directors Andrea Fisher of Transylvania University, Ester Randall of Eastern Kentucky University, Kristina Arnold of Western Kentucky University, and Jason Franz director of Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnati.

The panel generally agreed upon the resurgence in drawing due to economic and technological changes in the past century, and the shift in the hierarchy of artistic media. They also all generally believed that a drawing needed energy and je ne sais quoi to please them, but what made the discussion so interesting was not the agreement, but the disagreement. The contrasting views gave everybody something to think about. Is that not the best part of academic discussion?

Most exciting were the varied teaching methods. While Fisher declared a more liberating drawing class with mixed media and less attention to technical skill best, Franz found that the rules imposed upon students while learning the foundational skills of drawing encouraged creativity within a structured setting and fostered free expression in more advanced levels of studio classes. Arnold looked for a happy balance because she often starts drawing classes traditionally but grows tired of what seems to her that repetitive teaching style. Abandoning the structure mid semester, she branches out into other media forms. These teachers, all from different schools and backgrounds, have such different ideas about the best methods of instruction. I look forward to the crop of new artists Kentucky will soon have under the tutelage of these fine people.

The panel also discussed the selection of works. Fisher once again wanted to see more popular modern drawing styles such as anime and cartooning. She found this exhibition traditional in its selection, and assumed the cause was the generation of the artists selected to contribute. She suggested a gallery show filled with the drawings of the students instead of the professors. This statement most likely got almost every student artist in the room thinking about what they would like to see or present to the public. Franz disagreed about the generational gap, and Randall found it interesting that the works selected by the artists did possess some traditional thinking. It gave rise to many other unanswered questions about the cause of the traditionalism, the affects of the age gap between professor and student, and how they played a role in the works selected.

So many questions, so many ideas, so much to think about! I could not imagine a better way to spend my Tuesday evening, and if you haven’t seen the show yet you should definitely look, observe, see what I am talking about for yourself. The exhibition “State of Drawing” is on view until December 15th. The works will only make you think about all the wonderful possibilities the art world has in Kentucky.


Earl Grey said...

Thanks for the post, Catherine. We hope you'll consider writing for us again in the spring!

Boris Zakic said...

Wish not to leave out ART115, they helped w. the prep for the roundtable, too -- thanks for the spirited discussion, openness and for all the (unguardedly) engaging cue card questions submitted to me prior.

Also, as Catherine touched on briefly, it was refreshing to see some disagreements. To fully sharpen the divide among the views, however, as it has occurred to me at that particular moment, I would have loved a full day symposium, like for example, the PAD/UofL earlier this year. And, in which case, the discussion could have been easily shaped into something entirely apart from the exhibition. I too will give a second look at this for Friday.

Catherine, very much look forward to reading more in the spring--

art gal said...

Thanks for posting, Catherine! It is very rewarding to hear from students regarding exhibitions and events in the art galleries. I look forward to reading more.