Drawing On, In, Out

October 30, 2015 - February 8, 2016

I love the experience of looking at drawings. They have an immediacy that is often masked in paintings and sculptures. The hand of the artist is readily apparent in a drawing. Paper is a delicate, sensuous material. The pressure of a graphite pencil biting into it, the soft roughness of charcoal clinging to it, or the smoothness of ink gliding across it is felt as much as seen.

The drawings in this exhibit are not sketches, nor are they preparatory designs for paintings or sculptures. They are fully realized works of art, each with its own dynamic pictorial invention. Drawing On, In, Out immerses the viewer in the magic, technical genius, and impeccable sensitivity conveyed by the work of six artists committed to the art of drawing.

Edgar Degas’s Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer is the subject of dozens of full-size drawings in charcoal with slight color by Jane Sutherland. They are keenly observed depictions of the now beloved sculpture. Sutherland’s nuanced drawings bring fresh insights to this iconic statuette, as they capture with great tenderness the dynamics and dualities of the transition between girlhood and womanhood.

Monique Luchetti draws “bird-skins” from the ornithological collection at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. She renders them realistically and in great detail, but in monumental scale with added bursts of color in swirling patterns. Although Luchetti’s models are flattened artifacts without the volume of the living creatures—many are specimens of extinct birds—the enormous shift in scale, combined with the glorious pulses of color emanating from each heart-center, allows the spirit of these birds to be reborn.

Cristina de Gennaro’s exploration of the cycle of growth and decay of sagebrush is fascinating for what it reveals about both the natural world and art making. In a tour de force of draftsmanship, the series begins with an intricate, realistic, almost microscopic rendering of the twisted, tangling mass of this high-desert plant. As the series progresses, de Gennaro crops and abstracts the image. By adding layers of geometric structure, she moves the subject of the drawings from the natural world to the art form.

Scott Tulay seamlessly combines hard-edged abstraction and atmospheric illusion. His huge drawings pull the viewer into an intensely animated space conveying a sense of centrifugal energy—like being in the center of a tornado, surrounded by the shattered timbers of houses or airborne poles. Just beyond the kinetic tangle, softly tinted passages of blue offer refuge from the storm.

Terry Hauptman’s drawing takes the form of a Torah. Her oversize scroll of black, highly textured rice paper opens to reveal a personal lexicon. Her figures, glyphs, and hermetic symbols along with Hebrew letters are rendered in shifting scales using a variety of colored and metallic pens, inks, and paint. Dynamic groupings of people and what appear to be angels with trumpets flow across the scroll. Songs of community, culture, and faith through the centuries are almost audible.

Craig Stockwell‘s wall drawing is built from information he gathered while researching his family’s eleven-generation history in the Connecticut River Valley. During those eleven generations most of the Stockwells have lived in or near Brattleboro, including Craig, who has lived in Keene, N.H., since 1988. The drawing is informed by the artist’s research, but in the end it is more artwork than historical presentation, more feeling than fact.


— Mara Williams, Chief Curator


Photo Gallery


October 30, Friday, 5:30 p.m. – Opening Reception
December 6, Sunday, 2 p.m. – Exhibit Tour with Mara Williams and the Six Artists