Arcadia University Art Gallery’s 2012 Faculty Exhibition: On the Persistence of Drawing asked Art and Design faculty to explore the ways in which drawing shapes and informs their work as artists, designers and educators. On Nov. 28, several of the artists gathered to discuss the practice of drawing as well as its role in art education in the 21st century. Their perspectives are as diverse as the media they use.
Students and alumni flocked to the Gallery, eager to gain insight from their favorite professors. Richard Torchia, Art Gallery Director, hushed the room and asked attendees to take a seat on the floor to better hear and interact with the exhibition contributors. It was sitting room only.
Excerpts from the Conversation
Jess Perlitz, a sculptor, explores some of the differences between drawing and manipulating three-dimensional objects. She notes how mark making is both immediate and mediated—“contained on paper … separate from the world.”
Sculptor Carole Loeffler talks about the limits of verbal communication and expands on the idea that drawing is a way of mediating the world in which we live. She says it’s also a way to explore the subconscious and to communicate ideas when words fail.
Abbey Ryan, who teaches painting and drawing, holds diverse views about the medium. As an instructor, she regards drawing as a way of teaching students how to see. In practice, she “think[s] about drawing as the manifestation of an idea or, in addition, some kind of residue of activity.”
Expanding on Perlitz’s thoughts on the immediacy of drawing, printmaker Justin Staller, whose sketches take no more than a few minutes, describes the act as a rugged, basic way of “channeling [an] instinctual part of [himself]” to smooth the creative process.
Although he holds two degrees in drawing, Matt Borgen has taken to other media to cover up his mark-making. To add another layer of mediation, the two digital prints of his included in the exhibition are renderings of another artist’s drawing.
Betsey Batchelor discusses using drawing in the classroom as a way of discovering what was always there—a means to transcend artifice to reveal to the student for the first time something that was always present.
Photography by Kara Wright ’14