Art in Re­view Car­o­line Grant, Greta Young — Fig­ure Draw­ing at Ar­gos Stu­dio/Gallery

Ar­gos Stu­dio/Gallery, 1211 Luisa St., 505-988-1814; through Oct. 25

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - — Iris McLis­ter

“Draw­ing the fig­ure is a com­mit­ment. Gen­er­a­tions of mod­ernist artists worked from a foundation of tra­di­tional skills; it’s only very re­cently, I think, that any­one se­ri­ously con­ceives of the plas­tic arts as pos­si­ble with­out a dis­ci­pline of ma­te­ri­als. That would be like mu­si­cians who don’t prac­tice — sort of a thought-ex­per­i­ment.” So says Ar­gos Stu­dios’ Eric Thom­son, and he should know. For decades, Thom­son and his part­ner Eli Levin have of­fered clas­si­cal fig­ure draw­ing classes to peo­ple with a range of skill lev­els. Wedged be­tween a pre­owned car lot and a clus­ter of of­fice build­ings, Ar­gos Stu­dios oc­cu­pies a some­what unglam­orous stretch of real es­tate on Luisa Street, just off Cor­dova Road. The unas­sum­ing ex­te­rior be­lies a stu­dio and ex­hi­bi­tion space whose pro­gram is stead­fastly el­e­gant and proudly clas­si­cal, as ex­em­pli­fied in a show of works by Car­o­line Grant and Greta Young.

Draw­ing is a de­cep­tively dif­fi­cult art form, but for Thom­son, good drafts­man­ship is foun­da­tion­ally es­sen­tial for all artists, re­gard­less of genre. The sixty-one-year-old Thom­son ex­plains, “For me, and I think on some level for artists who came of age with me in the ’70s, there was still a sense that [draw­ing] was what you did, even though I came out of school mak­ing min­i­mal­ist paint­ings and did so for years while con­tin­u­ing to draw from the model. It was part of your dis­ci­pline.”

Grant and Young, both lo­cal artists and long­time Ar­gos draw­ing-class reg­u­lars, in­ter­pret the hu­man form in in­trigu­ingly dif­fer­ent ways. Grant’s mod­estly sized, sen­si­tively wrought pas­tel-on-pa­per draw­ings are in­flu­enced by the likes of Al­brecht Dürer and Rem­brandt. “It’s the hard­est thing to make a re­al­is­tic study on pa­per of a fig­ure model, within the time frame of the ses­sion, and bring it be­yond cor­rect­ness to the ex­pres­sion of a lived mo­ment,” notes Thom­son, “but Car­o­line man­ages to get there over and over again.” At just 8-by-6 inches, Shel­ley is a del­i­cately pro­por­tioned bust of a woman in three-quar­ters per­spec­tive. With her hair tucked back in a messy bun, down­cast eyes, and head tilted slightly down and to the right, she af­fects a de­mure seren­ity. The sub­ject of Grant’s petite pas­tel Hannah I is pic­tured in pro­file from the neck up. The sturdy lines of her chin and nose, jux­ta­posed against the fuzzy, wild corona of her up­swept hair, to­gether evince a shim­mery kines­the­sia.

Prac­tic­ing in a very dif­fer­ent vein is Young, whose rowdy, out­sized works on pa­per con­tain smudged and streaked lines that pro­duce a riot of move­ment and ex­pres­sion. Ac­cord­ing to Thom­son, Young’s work “is all en­ergy. In good ex­pres­sion­ist fash­ion, she redi­rects us to the psy­chic en­ergy of the artist rather than her sub­ject, and in this I’ve al­ways felt Greta’s work to be con­vinc­ing.” Bushy Mu­sic is a jum­ble of dashed and jagged lines that col­lide rather than co­a­lesce across the sur­face of the pa­per. Amid sug­ges­tions of el­bows, an­kles, and toe­nails is a shaggy shock of black hair; the monochromatic pal­ette and in­tense, al­most vi­o­lent strokes re­mind one of a samu­rai from a Ku­niyoshi wood­block print, ready to leap from the pa­per. Thom­son says Young, who also paints on can­vas, “has such a co­her­ent vi­sion. She’s been do­ing it for such a long time, and it re­ally has be­come her style.” See­ing the work of th­ese two very dif­fer­ent artists is a stim­u­lat­ing ex­er­cise that en­cour­ages us to think about our own ways of see­ing. For Grant and Young, fig­ure draw­ing is a dis­ci­plined ac­tiv­ity whose byprod­uct is var­i­ously un­tamed and or­dered: a re­flec­tion of the seer, made vis­i­ble to all.

Greta Young: Bushy Mu­sic, 2015; top right, Small Mob, 2015, both oil stick on pa­per; bot­tom left, Car­o­line Grant: Shel­ley, 2014; bot­tom right, Hannah I, 2014, both pas­tel on pa­per

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.