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Drawing out: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2014

Inaugural exhibition showcases vitality of drawing in Australia

Left: Ross Laurie Walcha III 2013, ink, charcoal, pastel, collage on board © Ross Laurie. Right: Tom Carment Caravan park, Coledale 2012, pen and black ink, watercolour © Tom Carment

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is pleased to announce a new series of curated exhibitions on contemporary Australian drawing to be held every two years – the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial. The inaugural exhibition, Drawing out, opens 21 November 2014.

The biennial follows on from the nationally acclaimed Dobell Prize for Drawing (1993–2012).

Drawing out showcases the vitality and breadth of drawing in contemporary Australian art. Ten artists have been selected: Tom Carment (NSW), Joe Furlonger (QLD), Ross Laurie (NSW), Ivy Pareroultja (NT), Ana Pollak (NSW), Peter Sharp (NSW), Mary Tonkin (VIC), John R Walker (NSW), Gosia Wlodarczak (VIC) and John Wolseley (VIC).

As explained by curator Anne Ryan: 'For each artist, drawing is fundamental to their practice. Yet the exhibition encompasses works as varied as watercolour, film, performance and sculpture – highlighting the flexibility of drawing in frequently defying classification.’

Drawing out also reveals how the process of drawing allows these artists to engage with the landscape – be it urban, rural, natural or constructed – and the limitless inspiration that it offers. The drawings on display range from those made in the landscape itself to those produced in the studio.

During the opening week of Drawing out, Gosia Wlodarczak will create a performance in which she will draw directly onto a window in the Gallery overlooking Woolloomooloo. The performance will be a response to her immediate surroundings – the landscape outside as well as the interior space of the Gallery – and will be erased at the end of the show.

Another dynamic drawing on display will be Anna Pollak’s two-minute animation Flux. Utilising video to skillfully convey movement, Flux was created using thousands of drawings and inspired by music and the waterways close to her home on Dangar Island, in the Hawkesbury River.

John Wolseley’s evocative wetland drawings were made in remote areas of Tasmania and the Northern Territory. The artist’s sensitive approach is one of collaboration with the natural environment. Making use of swampy plants to imprint pigment onto his page, Wolseley turns a previously passive subject into an active participant.

The significance of the landscape is nowhere more pertinent than in the Central Desert drawings by Ivy Pareroultja. An indigenous artist and a direct descendant of the original Hermannsburg School watercolour artists, Pareroultja plays a crucial role in continuing the Western Aranda – or 'Hermannsburg school’ – legacy in Alice Springs and her surrounding country.

Drawing affords Joe Furlonger the ability to react quickly to his surroundings. His drawings of Goondiwindi on the Queensland-NSW border were executed on site in a surge of creativity, captured in just minutes. Ross Laurie’s expressive abstract drawings, made using oil-stick and charcoal, speak of an emotional encounter with his farm at Walcha on the Northern tablelands of NSW.

Sculpture and drawing have an interrelated relationship for Peter Sharp. His installation of organic forms and structures comprise a group of charcoal drawings, a wooden sculpture and a large boulder taken from Fowlers Gap in far western NSW. The subject of John R Walker’s art is to be found within a small radius around his home in the picturesque town of Braidwood, NSW. Walker does not try to capture a conventional ‘view’, but rather a narrative of experience: what it is to walk through a particular place.

At 14-metres long, Mary Tonkin’s ambitious panoramic drawing will be the largest work in the exhibition; all but enveloping visitors into the heady interior of a dense forest scene. At the other end of the spectrum, the intimate sketchbook drawings of Sydney artist Tom Carment are snapshots of his world. Made on the spot in small handheld sketchbooks, their personal quality is matched only by their technical assurance.

A selection of exhibiting works will be acquired for the Gallery’s collection, continuing the Gallery’s commitment to collecting Australian drawing.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and supported by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.

On view
21 Nov 2014 – 26 Jan 2015
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney


Media contact

Lisa Catt
Tel 02 9225 1791
Mob 0431 509 978