"Strictly Drawing" reviewed by Eduardo Vidal

I was not sure about what type of exhibit I should attend to write this final paper. First, I am not an art expert or an art student. I am a big fan of art, but must confess that I do not have the expertise necessary to analyze it. I thought it would be better if I could find some exhibit that would not be too big or to eclectic, so I would not get confused. After talking to an art student, she advised me to go to "The Main Art Gallery" where they are having a drawing exhibit called "Strictly Drawing." The exhibit started on December 03, 2004 and goes until January 30, 2005. It was interesting because there are many artists presenting about 36 pieces of art. Even though there are only drawings in this art show, there are so many different styles, mediums, techniques, and subject matter, that it was hard to believe, at least for me, who is not an expert in art, to understand that they were all drawings. Interestingly, I noticed that all drawings were for sale and the prices varied from the low hundreds up to twelve hundred dollars. It would not be possible to comment on all the works I saw, so I decided to talk about some of the drawings that in some way or another caught my attention in special ways.

"Mother and Daughter" by David Freed (2004). He used watercolor and pastel. He used greens and yellows of different shades, but what impressed me the most was the theme of his work. Most of the mother and daughter paintings are associated with infants with the need for the mother. This one was very different, because although the daughter was still reaching for the mother, they were both adults, the age of the daughter was not clear but the mother was an elderly woman. The message I got from this painting was that no matter what age the bond between mother and offspring is always there.

Main Art Gallery, Richmond, Virginia

The work by Steven Jones (2002) entitled "Lil’Gross Clinic (Baba Yoga)," where the artist used only ink and pencil was much different from the first drawing. Defined round and curvilinear shapes give a clear picture of the ghost like images and the pathways and brick walls that are all over the composition. These shapes reminded me of some of the modern paintings with black and white shapes we saw in our last class. It has also a cartoon like atmosphere. Even thought the subject matter might seem up beat, the picture gives has a comedy like tone.

"Egalite" by Brad Birchett (2004) was one of the most abstract drawings I saw in this exhibit. It used mixed drawing media. The basic colors on the background were blue and gray. Yellow, green, blue, and black were used to draw the abstract figures. The forms were ambiguous, but I dare to say that I saw a few figures that could be a glass of martini and/or a person’s face (of a stick figure). It was very interesting and quite challenging to stay there trying to figure out what the images were.


"A Trip to the Raw Bar" by Wolfgang Jasper (2004) resembled Steven Jones’ work (mentioned before) in the subject matter. Ghosts or dead people with round and curved shapes are clustered, giving the sensation of unification of the figures by their shapes, like in Jones’ work. The main differences between the two works are: First, Jasper used charcoal, which gives a more refined and rich texture and a different finishing to the drawing. Second, the ghosts in this picture do not have the pleasant expressions Jones’ drawing. Third, there are body parts mixed around the ghost heads, some are mutilated, which might explain why the figures have such desperate expressions on their faces.

One of the reasons I liked this exhibit was that there I could find many different styles. One that I like the most, although you may say I am "outdated," is "After Prud’ Hon" (2004). I did not write the artist’s name, maybe because I was too busy admiring the drawing itself! This is a classical subject matter: a naked female model posing to the artist, which used charcoal on gray paper for this drawing. I liked it because it seems to me that this would be one of the most difficult kinds of drawing I could ever make, but again, I have no idea (or talent) to draw or paint! It looks like a semester project of a senior art student that probably received an "A+", but again I am no expert…

One of the other drawings that seemed interesting to me was "Faux Pax #1" by Joseph DiBella (2004), which uses mixed drawing media. This composition is divided in two frames. The top one is a gun and a target. The colors used are yellow, black and some green. One of the aspects that caught my attention was that the artist uses nails in this composition, which made me think of cubist, because of the mixture of other materials with paint (in this case a drawing). It did not exactly look like what we have seen during this course from Picasso and Braque, but the mixing of material reminded me of the technique used in cubism. The bottom part of the composition had a bedroom as theme. There were fewer colors, giving the sensation of a darker picture, but some white was added to the drawing of the bed, directing the viewer’s attention to that point of the drawing. This bottom part made me think about cubism even more, because it used something that looks like pinheads painted in gold and some sort of molding material, like wax painted in green, black and a little bit of yellow. This technique of mixing other materials to the composition that usually would be almost flat, reminds me of cubism. Another characteristic that reminds me of cubism is that colors, composition and the other "outside" materials used blended well with the drawing itself.

These were some of the works that in some way or another caught my attention in this exhibit.
I must confess I was very worried about writing a paper about an art exhibit.
Originally, it felt like I was an art critic, which I have not the knowledge or the skills to be.
However, once I started to write about what I saw at the art gallery,
it felt like I have learned many aspects of modern (and classical) art in those five weeks we met.
I feel more confident and it seems my senses are better prepared to appreciate the wonderful world of art!