Curated by John Nixon and Justin Andrews
02 April - 25 April 2009
'Drawing Folio' is a real gift. Really. Honestly. Its exciting and fun and it doesnt need batteries. I'm not lying. John Nixon and Justin Andrews have put it all together (no assembly's required), its ready for viewing. Its enjoyable. Its huge. Theres 36 exhibiting artists. Its great. Its not great just because theres so many participants, its great because theres so many and all of the work is great also. Bonus. I was genuinely awestruck; I feel no embarrassment in saying so because it is backed by truth, even though its usually the social norm to be distanced, detatched and, even in the most exteme circumstances of heart felt wonder, only mildly impressed regardless of your true feelings. I'm sure the fever I was suffering from when I saw the show aided the viewing experince as well.
What the curating duo have done is gathered both preliminary and finished abstract/conceptual drawings from a broad span of Melbourne artists that work in this manner. The work is form, line, space, layers, distances, and being. Its dupilicates, singularities, webs, accidents, systems, rules, coincidence, hierarchies, order, and chaos. They are ambiguous diagrams, conveying ideas (mostly) without words, relying on the power of the image. They are a dichotomy of simplicity and complexity, and in that they scream with honesty without a hint of grandiloquence. It was fantastic to see so much free work (speaking of both the prepatory drawings and the finished) of both this nature and subject matter by such a large number of artists all in the one space, side by side, not in competition, but support, support of similarity, ideas and style.
I do have some criticisms of the show, only a few though (can I even say I have a few criticsms? Especially after so much praise in the opening paragraph? Wheres my intergrity as a writer?! Pfft, as if I care, I'd rather write this article like some common, opinionated blogger than an unapproachful, magniloquent (and delusional) art critic). Upon first entering the space and seeing the overall hang from the distance of the entrance, I was a little dissappointed that everything was clinically at eye level, without a single deviation, despite the common subject matter addressing scale, space, composition and or balance. These ideas could have been taken from the work and used in planning the exhibition layout: hanging the drawings in the space in a similiar way to composition used in the images of the drawings themselves. Furthermore, I understand that the show is called Drawing Folio and thus the participating artists were requested that all works be a maximum size of A2, but i felt this rule was a little dire, especially after seeing some of the works and being left to imagine the rousing possibillities had the artist been given freedom in the kingdom of scale. These two criticsms are of little consequence though, in comparison to everything that is amazing about this show, so by no means give them any more thought than they deserve. Which is very little. Definately don't dwell on them... the criticisms that is. Instead, dwell on the work, and the exhibition as a whole, its a gift and we have John Nixon and Justin Andrews to thank for organising it.