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Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge

October 25, 2013 - February 9, 2014

Mequitta Ahuja,Royal Ease,2011, acrylic, enamel and collage on paper, courtesy of the artist, © Mequitta Ahuja

From the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C., comes an exhibition focusing on the intersection of contemporary drawing and portraiture. Drawings are traditionally admired for their directness, as the most immediate transcription – from eye to hand to paper – of an artist’s imagination. Over the past two decades, however, contemporary artists have moved beyond the quick sketch, compositional study, and memory aid to embrace drawing with new enthusiasm and ambition. The six artists in this exhibition – Mequitta Ahuja, Mary Borgman, Adam Chapman, Ben Durham, Till Freiwald, and Rob Matthews – exemplify this trend with different approaches but the same energized commitment.

The works in Drawing on the Edge expand the narrow boundaries that once defined drawing. Probing the intersection between drawing, photography, painting, video, textual writing, and computer technology, artists introduce a sense of appealing complexity. They incorporate collage, manipulate scale, or experiment with surfaces such as frosted Mylar, handmade paper, or a manipulated computer screen. Despite the variety in size, style, and mood in these works, all six artists show a commitment to making direct, immediate, highly personal marks on paper. Each of them employs a painstaking technique; their meticulous, repetitive actions result in a contemplative, almost meditative, engagement with process that adds a psychological depth to their work.

This exhibition has been organized by the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

This exhibition and its programming have been made possible through the Rebecca Houser Westcott Fund for Portraiture Now; the Abraham and Virginia Weiss Charitable Trust, Amy and Marc Meadows; and the Paul M. and Christine G. Wick Fund. The tour to Arkansas has been supported by The Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Arkansas Arts Center exhibition sponsor: Edafio Technology Partners.


Visit the official website for Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge.





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