The Power of Charcoal at The Drawing Center

Olga Chernysheva,

Olga Chernysheva, charcoal on paper, 2015

The Drawing Center, located on Wooster Street in SOHO, is a great place to see art. Though it’s mainly a two-room gallery, the space is large and the works on view are very accessible. Cecily Brown: Rehearsal is the main exhibit and is the artist’s first solo museum show in New York, and the first exhibition dedicated to her drawings. The large, colorful acrylic and watercolor works are engaging and imaginative. But it was the smaller exhibit, in the back room of the gallery, that really captured my attention.

Olga Chernysheva, Untitled (Forbidden),Charcoal and collage on paper (2016)

Olga Chernysheva, Untitled (Forbidden),Charcoal and collage on paper (2016)

The exhibit, Olga Chernysheva: Vague Accent is a series of drawings the Moscow-based artist made during a month-long visit to New York in November 2015. Each drawing is done in charcoal and captures an everyday scene Chernysheva observed while she was on her visit. The simple lines convey so much. Yet each feel as if the artist just took out her sketch pad as she was roaming through the city or looking out her window. The artist described her drawings as works that “show things that are already visible…things not asking to be looked at.”

Olga Chernysheva

Olga Chernysheva

Just one contained a hint of color which was quite impactful and made you feel like you wanted to see more of those hints in other drawings.

Both exhibits are only on view through December 18th.

The Power of the Line

Two exhibits, as different as night and day, bring to life the power of a line. The first is Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions at the Morgan Library and Museum.

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Martin Puryear is a living American sculptor who works primarily in wood and bronze creating elegant pieces that have subtle impact. This exhibition is the first to highlight the important role that drawing plays in his practice. Featuring about 70 works, the exhibition explores the evolution of Puryear’s ideas across different media. Most of the drawings come from the artist’s collection and have never been exhibited before. His drawings, but even more so his sculptures, use simple shapes and lines that have depth and volume.

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The second exhibit brings to light the exquisite drawings of Renaissance artist, Andrea del Sarto, and can be found at the Frick Museum. Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action has nearly fifty drawings — red and black chalk figures, expressive heads, and compositional studies — and three related paintings that explore the important role of drawing in Andrea del Sarto’s paintings. “By showing drawings with their completed paintings and by bringing together works that relate to specific commissions, the exhibition sheds new light on the artist’s creative process,” according to the exhibition notes. The works on display provide insights into the artistic process and serve, almost as a masters class, in drawing.

Both exhibits are on view through January 10, 2016.

Visit Alice, Emmet and William at the Morgan

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Four new and very different exhibits should entice you to visit the Morgan Library and Museum this summer, including Alice:150 Years of Wonderland, opening this Friday, June 26th. The exhibit will feature the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which, for the first time in three decades,  will travel from the British Library in London to New York. It will be joined by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs, and fascinating objects—many never before exhibited. While this exhibit will surely draw the crowds, there are three other fascinating exhibitions that shouldn’t be missed.

Left: Emmet Gowin (American, b. 1941), Edith in Panama, Flight Inside, 2003. Unique gold toned salt print on Twin Rocker handmade paper. Right: Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), The Spider, 1902. Charcoal and black chalk.

Left: Emmet Gowin (American, b. 1941), Edith in Panama, Flight Inside, 2003. Unique gold toned salt print on Twin Rocker handmade paper. Right: Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), The Spider, 1902. Charcoal and black chalk.

Hidden Likeness: Photographer Emmet Gowin at the Morgan is the most provocative, and requires a slow viewing to really appreciate its impact. For the exhibition, Gowin (b. 1941) has combined favorites from five decades of his work with objects drawn from the collections of the Morgan. Gowin’s photographs include portraits of his wife, Edith, and their extended family,  landscapes, and aerial views of sites shaped by modern-era catastrophes ranging from volcanic activity to nuclear testing. If you can, I’d recommend taking the free guided tour of the exhibit which is scheduled for Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:00pm during July and August.  The exhibit will be on view until September 20th.

Sir Thomas Malory (fl. 1470) Thys noble and joyous book entitled le morte Darthur… Westminster: William Caxton, 31 July 1485

Sir Thomas Malory
(fl. 1470)
Thys noble and joyous book entitled le morte Darthur…
Westminster: William Caxton, 31 July 1485

For something completely different, stop in to see William Caxton and the Birth of English Printing.  This small exhibits celebrates the first books printed in English, beginning in 1474, by William Caxton. He was an English merchant and diplomat, who capitalized on the commercial opportunity offered by  print technology invented by Johann Gutenberg twenty years before. Caxton published key works of English literature, such as Chaucer and Malory, (on display) as well as short religious texts, many of which he translated from French or Latin. The Morgan has the third largest collection of Caxtons in the world. The exhibit is on view until September 25th.

Henri Matisse, Self-Portrait 1945 Conté crayon on wove paper.

Henri Matisse, Self-Portrait
Conté crayon on wove paper.

For a more traditional art exhibit, visit Life Lines: Portrait Drawings From Durer To Picasso, on view through September 8th.  Life Lines includes self-portraits, like one by Henri Matisse, to portraits of family and friends, such as a portrait by Picasso of the actress Marie Derval.  There are formal portraits, commissioned by wealthy families as well as preparatory studies for paintings or sculptures.  If you not only enjoy viewing portraits, but also enjoy creating them, stop by the Morgan on Saturday, July 18th when you can sketch in the gallery.

The Drawing Center: Contemporary and Historical Art in SoHO

Facade_Home_MAIN1Located at the southern end of SoHo, The Drawing Center is a non-profit gallery/museum devoted to the medium of drawing — both historical and contemporary.  Since its founding in 1977, The Drawing Center has spotlighted drawing connected with science, literature, architecture and political movements. There are also lectures, gallery talks, family workshops and literary programs that enhance the exhibitions. Like the Chelsea galleries, The Drawing Center gives you an opportunity to see the work from both new artists and older masters in an intimate setting.

There are two very different shows on view at The Drawing Center right now — both worth visiting. In the main gallery is “Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris.” The exhibition explores four hundred years of portrait drawings, emphasizing work from live models. Forty portraits have been chosen from the Beaux-Arts de Paris’ collection based on “diverse criteria such as the male and female gestures, caricature, frontal gaze, social class, and profession of the model.” The portraits range from seventeenth-century to the present and include never-before-exhibited drawings by nineteenth-century artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Charles Garnier to the work of modern and contemporary artists like Henri Matisse and Georg Baselitz.

In the lower level gallery is a completely different kind of drawing exhibit – “Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm.”  Frank, a 35-year-old, contemporary artist, has brought to life the “unsanitized” versions of the fairy tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Using bold colors in gouache and pastel, Frank focuses on the dynamics between flesh and spirit. According to the artist, she is exploring, “the parallel poles of longing and desire but also disgust and fascination that constitute humanity.”  From afar, the scenes are both alluring and grotesque. Up close, you can appreciate the richness in detail and will be drawn in by the energy emanating from the colors.

Both shows will be on view through June 28th.