Ohio Perspectives: New Master Drawings

The Butler Institute of American Art/Salem, Summit Artspace in Akron, and the Canton Museum of Art

Drawing is the fundamental pictorial act. It reveals the first impulses of both the artist's mind and body. New Master Drawings, the tenth installment in the Akron Art Museum's Ohio Perspectives series, reflects the heightened interest in drawing today. Here in Ohio and around the world many contemporary artists seek to reconnect with craft and handwork. Some artists featured offer new takes on the nature sketchbook, figure studies, and cartooning.
In March 2004, the Akron Art Museum closed its downtown Akron location to begin an exciting expansion project. Since it was temporarily without a gallery, it collaborated with three area institutions to present this three-part exhibit. The Butler Institute of American Art/Salem, Summit Artspace in Akron, and the Canton Museum of Art each showcased works by a different group of artists for three month intervals: February-April (2005), May-July (2005), and August-October (2005) respectively.
A few artists in the exhibition draw in a "sketch" format, working quickly and creating many related drawings, but they do not limit themselves to the smaller scale associated with that style. Kirk Magnus' series of loosely drawn, comic book-inspired images are paired with his imposing mural drawn directly on the walls of Summit Artspace. Matthew Kolodziej draws architectural structures from different angles and in different lights, sometimes creating dozens of drawings based upon a single structure. In this, he harks back to Old Master draftsmen such as Leonardo da Vinci, who drew landscapes, plants, bodies, faces, animals, and machines repeatedly in order to clarify his understanding of them. Like movements within a symphony, Robert Robbin's spare charcoal landscape drawings center on a few essential elements--open fields, leafless tress, and overcast skies. He depends on the starkness of his palette to lend his images a spiritual, rather than sensual, quality.
The drawn line may be the most direct form of visual expression, but the artists in New Master Drawings reveal it to be an evocative tool for conveying emotions, fears, and fantasies.
New Master Drawings was organized by the Akron Art Museum and made possible by a lead gift from Malone Advertising. Additional support provided by generous gifts from The Mirapaul Foundation and the R.C. Musson and Katherine M. Musson Charitable Foundation. The exhibition series was presented in cooperation with the Butler Institute of American Art/Salem, Summit Artspace in Akron, and the Canton Museum of Art.