DRAWING THE GHOST

DRAWING THE GHOST

Exhibition: September 17 - November 28, 2020

Koplin Del Rio is pleased to announce the opening of Drawing the Ghost, a group exhibition curated by long-time gallery artist, Robert Pruitt. Drawing the Ghost presents nearly 50 works from 18 artists employing varying modes of drawing to explore ideas of Race, Class, Gender, Futurism, Celestial phenomena, History and other concepts. This is Pruitt's first curated exhibition with the gallery. Says the artist, "This exhibition merges with my own art practice through the selection of artists who work with the human figure as a foundation. Similarly, the selected artists carefully use humor and juxtaposition in their work. These are artists I have known and have admired for some time. They create alluring images, apply complicated conceptual strategies, and illustrate narratives from the margins of our social and cultural landscapes."

"Drawing has been the dominant and central medium forming and guiding my relationship to art making and understanding creative processes. I am attracted to its nature as a democratic, primal and primary art form. For me, the human figure is a social, physical and spiritual subject, unparalleled in its ability to intuitively convey ideas about our shared conditions. This exhibition delves into the nexus of figure drawing.

The works in this show capture not only the given subjects but also reveal some fundamental meanings through their construction processes. The types of lines and marks an artist uses to create an image can reveal a further significance of an artwork. For example, Rabéa Ballin's clean and studied line work in her renderings of braided hairstyles almost imitate the tedious and mechanical process of actual hair braiding. Her titles too may reflect this reading of her process. "Orbit", seemingly proposed as a celestial term could also suggest the reoccurring and rotating motions of a hairstylist's hands around a head as well as Ballin's repeating drawing motions. Leamon Green, in turn, uses layered, hatching strokes that search out forms in his hauntingly soft, charcoal images of ancestral like figures. When combined with the silk screened images of African traditional masks and totems, his process seems to become one of inquiry of identity and history. In what feels like a reverse carving process, he uncovers almost apparitional figures through layers of printing and line work. I am unusually drawn to Keijiro Suzuki's implication of a refusal of the artist's hand in his conceptual photography and collage work. The inverted imagery of "Body Constellation" presents us with a set of points and implied lines not from his hand but yet of his own body. Similarly, his "Bubble Trouble", a set of manga pages recontextualized by removing text through an application of whiteout tape, creates an additive process by removal. Suzuki's work seems to straddle the spaces between material absence.

All of these artists' processes inform deeper conceptual readings of the works in this show, but they also affirm the innate accessibility of drawing. It is a medium that naturally allows the viewer to see every step of an image's creation. The conjury of drawing happens not in the mystery of materials, but in the visibility of the acts that created it. A drawn line, finger smudges, even erasures act as a history that the viewer can see. The finished artwork becomes a recording of the time and movements of the artist who created it. The artist's presence or "spirit" is captured in the completed work. Drawing the Ghost then becomes not just an exhibition but a documentation of rituals."

Robert Pruitt - TwankieTwankie


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