The action of taking a pencil, shaping the end into a point, placing it onto a sheet of paper and pushing forward into the substrate now has an altered, almost subversive tenor. Drawing takes on a new fascination in a world dominated by frictionless streams of digital imagery. This shift in perspective has attracted a new generation of mark makers, keen to graft this most universal of techniques onto the not always welcoming surface of the art gallery wall.
As the editors of Walk the Line, Marc Valli and Ana Ibarra, state in their preface: “The drawn line is the most direct connection between the sensory apparatus of the artist and the world of representation”. It’s that quality of directness that feels most persistent in the selection of artists gathered here in representation of contemporary drawing practices, a clarity of intention that translates into forcefully realised political, emotional or sexual statements. If drawing might traditionally have been associated with the hurriedness of the preparatory sketch or the frigid impersonality of the “study”, it appears that today, artists who choose the simplicity of the medium are using in ever more complex fashion, working with ambition in terms scale, detail and concept beyond traditional boundaries.