An exhibition looking at drawing practices in different disciplines, including landscape architecture, will be taking place between September and October in Rugby.

Drawing by physicist Sergio Cittolin
Drawing by physicist Sergio Cittolin

The 43 Uses of Drawing will be displayed in the Rugby Art Gallery & Museum and will showcase the work of 43 practitioners working in a number of different areas.

The exhibition will encompass works from a number of different disciplines and contexts outside of the fine art tradition, including geography, landscape architecture, reportage, the built environment, mathematics, music composition, geometry and medicine.

Work from landscape and urban design practices include Dominic Cole of Land Use Consultants, Laurie Olin, West8 and MVRDV, alongside practitioners such as Anton Lukoszevieze, Bobby Baker, Sergio Cittolin and Dr Tariq Ahmad, a plastic surgeon.

Dominic Cole, who was approached by curator Paul Cureton when he was researching a book on drawing use in landscape, has said the event will be a “revelation”. “Since I have always used drawing to design, I was very happy to be invited to exhibit drawings, which will show work from so many different disciplines under one banner.”

Cole, who was the lead designer on the Eden Project, said that he will often deliberately not take a camera when surveying a site, but instead rely on site sketches. “I find I am looking more purposefully and am starting to build a relationship with the site [by drawing]. Because you have to work quickly, you are also analysing and starting to audit the site’s resources – good views, bad views, topo features, colour, sound..These sketches are not the exquisite black & white delights of Hugh Casson or others whose original site sketch that becomes the project ICON, they are notes to self which help me to build a 3D picture of the site in my head, which I need because site-visits tend to be a luxury.”

For Cole, this 3D model has to sustain him for quite a time, until the project is realised: “When I worked on the Eden Project I carried, in my head, the original site plus my idea of how it was going to look.” He added: “When I am in the design process, I find it only possible to hand draw – anything else constrains my ability to think. Plans, sections, axonometrics, all hand drawn can be rapidly produced, constantly updated and discarded if it is not working. If I were to use computer – even via a third party, the process removes the essence & creativity. I feel embarrassed that a [core design] drawing, which has taken so long to create as an electronic entity, might then have to be changed completely.”

The exhibition will also look into more instantly recognisable areas of drawing and showcases the work of artists such as Molly Crabapple, Alex Villar, Martin Rowson, Brian Fay, Morgan O’Hara, Eleanore Mikus, Tomoo Seki and Eamon O’Kane.

Curator Paul Cureton, said: “The show aims to cast a light on the journey that drawings make. As Dominic mentions, in a landscape context, they help to conceptualise the design. This journey for me is probably one of the most exciting areas to focus on in landscape and I believe that insufficient attention has been paid on this journey both in practice and pedagogically. While this is a broad exhibition on drawing use, my rationale to curate the show was in the belief that the show can inform and feedback into the tools that we use in how we respond to the super complexity of landscape its time, layer and form.”

Craig Staff, senior lecturer in fine art at the University of Northampton, is curating the exhibition alonsgide Cureton, believes there is still an appetite for drawing. “Without wanting to sound too romantic, there is still something very important in mark making. It’s as much about how you observe something – drawing requires close scrutiny and pust different demands on the learner and, arguably, we don’t do that anymore.”

Follow the exhibition blog at http://the43usesofdrawing.blogspot.com

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