Visual Thinking Exhibition showcases the many worlds of contemporary drawing

27th August 2019
Randy Summers, “Coda” (detail), charcoal & white conte.

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Think you know what a drawing is?

Prepare to think again.

Visual Thinking: International Juried Drawing Exhibition, in the Ronald L. Barr Gallery at IU Southeast, will challenge visitors to expand their conception of what drawing is, what it means, what it does, and what it says.

The show features works by 57 artists from seven countries and includes everything from preparatory sketches to finished drawings, and includes unexpected contributions such as military strategy maps, medical illustrations, animations, renderings by sociologists and sculptors, and three-dimensional pieces.

“We want to show the breadth of how drawing is used as a thinking process,” said Emily Sheehan, assistant professor of fine arts and initiator of the show.

Karey Kessler, “Stars light up the sky” (detail), ink on homemade paper.

That connection between cognition and drawing is at the core of Thinking Through Drawing, a multi-disciplinary group of artists, researchers and practitioners in the sciences who explore the relationships between drawing and our mental life, including aspects such as perception, learning, early childhood development, empathy, sensory processing and more. Sheehan is a board member of the group.

She initiated the show via a call for entries that yielded 750 submissions from over 200 artists. Together the five board members of Thinking Through Drawing served as the jury for the Visual Thinking exhibition.

W.M. Haney, “Prosthetic Trellis Knee Implant II” (detail), graphite and colored pencil.

Among well established artists, the exhibition features works by two former students of Sheehan who have continued to evolve since graduating from IU Southeast.

Chelsea Markuson attended graduate school at Michigan State University, moving from two-dimensional works on paper to performance, video, sculpture and sound art, with a strong focus on social justice issues.

“My growth in graduate school is due to a willingness to let go of previous ways of making, in order to do something new,” Markuson said. “I began to tackle concepts that were important to me, and addressing the complexities of our troubled times.”

Rachael Bailey has concentrated on her personal studio practice outside of academia, learning to combine realism with material and abstraction, showing her work, making connections in the local art community and teaching classes.

For Bailey, the Visual Thinking exhibition mirrors her own approach to the art form.

“The thought process behind the exhibition resonated with my work and process, which has always been a way for me to process my emotions, things which happen in my life and general problem solving,” Bailey said.

Visual Thinking runs through Friday, Sept. 27 in the Ronald L. Barr Gallery in the Ogle Center at IU Southeast. A free reception will be held on Wed., August 28, 4-6 p.m. in the gallery.

Homepage photo: Joshua Newth, “Empty” (detail), graphite and conte on paper.

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