Drawn Home: Paul Shore

March 18 - June 18, 2017

Inspired by Audubon’s heroic project to draw all the birds of North America, Paul Shore looked at his home and drew every object in it. His four-year undertaking comprises 792 drawings, 13 prints, and 13 sculptures, all made to scale or larger. Each drawing is a fully realized work of art with its own dynamic pictorial invention; collectively they constitute a primer on the art of drawing. Lines vary tremendously in character and expressive potential. They can display diverse qualities such as textured or smooth, dark or light, continuous or broken, curvilinear or rectilinear, heavy or delicate, thick or thin.

In many of his drawings Shore uses strong, singular lines of consistent weight to describe the object with great economy. In others he deploys a variety of line weights as well as shading and texture to build volume and create more fully realized depictions. These drawings describe the object with simultaneous regard for shadow and light, for physical weight, and for the effect of gravity.

The artist’s hand is readily apparent in drawings on paper—a delicate, sensuous material that yields to the pressure of the mark—giving them an immediacy often masked in paintings. For most of these drawings Shore uses various types of graphite, from soft to hard. Each lead imparts a different quality as it floats across or bites into the paper, while the colored pencil drawings animate the surface with a showy panache.

Rendering three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional space requires the mental agility to compress space in a pictorially logical manner. Paul Shore’s hand conveys technical genius and impeccable sensitivity, immersing the viewer in the magic of his Drawn Home.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

After seeing John James Audubon’s The Birds of America at the New York Historical Society, I was impressed by the ambition of the project and inspired by it. Because my work has almost always been concerned with issues of intimacy, I applied Audubon’s scope of all-inclusiveness to my most intimate surroundings and have drawn every object in my home, except art, ephemera, and detritus.

At first I thought of Drawn Home as a still-life project. But after a short time I realized that it was more a self-portrait project. The objects in one’s home, both intentionally and randomly acquired ones, are not only things but also representations of needs and desires. This work has been an obsessive process, with a parallel in psychoanalysis: digging around in hidden places, uncovering forgotten memories, and presenting it all.

— Paul Shore

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