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Contemporary Drawings

The tradition of drawing is as old as human civilization itself and continues to thrive today. In the modern world, which is becoming increasingly inundated with digital technologies, artists find comfort in the analog practice and aesthetic of drawing as they explore new ways to present this age old medium in a new light.

Drawing lays bare every line and indexical marking of the artist, thus thwarting any possibility to conceal error with over-painting or sculptural addition. While artists such as Jeff Koons employ cutting edge production techniques and scores of studio assistants to produce works of art that appear bereft of the artist’s hand, others look to emphasize the human qualities of their work.

Joe Bradley, Elizabeth Murray, and Mark Grotjahn are a few of the many artists who create contemporary drawings as an integral aspect of their practice. Bradley’s drawings appear elementary, hieroglyphic, and, at times, intentionally naïve like the work of a child savant. While Murray’s drawings also convey a sense of childhood wonder, they are graphically more complex and frenetic. Grotjahn is perhaps best known for his series of "Butterfly" works, paintings, and drawings, which appear in explosions of ray-like striations. They are highly geometric and seemingly scientifically precise.

Quick Facts

  • Contemporary artists employ the breadth of drawing media that has been used since the advent of the art form, including pastels, charcoal, and pencil
  • Since the advent of the camera, the ability to replicate objects from nature as they appear to the human eye has become an increasingly secondary to the artist’s capacity to convey emotion and his or her artistic worldview
  • Drawing embodies one of the oldest forms of communication. There is evidence that the act of drawing precedes written language

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