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Drawing Out review

5 May 08 words: Amanda Young
From historical contexts and modern phenomena to technological recording, patterns, splats and cartoons.

"Life Room" Andy Love

Drawing out is to be seen as pushing the notion of drawing out of the box, into other forms including painting, sculpture, text, digital mapping and ceramics. This exhibition held at Bonington Gallery and 1851 Gallery is by staff from the School of Art and Design at Nottingham Trent University. The approaches and ideas on show span from historical contexts and modern phenomena to technological recording, social concerns, patterns, splats and cartoons.

The most poignant areas were intelligent pushes into digital and mechanical interpretations of drawing very much in the vein of society’s extension of the body and experience of life through computer screens, gadgets, CCTV and rituals. John Newling’s work skin immediately pulls you into the gallery space with its clunky mechanics, piston sounds and flakes of silvery latex fluttering to the ground. Based on the notion of scratch cards and sudden windfalls, Newling cleverly combines the fascination with money throughout history using the 16th Century painter, Quentin Metsys’, ‘the money changer and his wife.’

Peter Bowcott and Thomas Hall exhibit Reflecting Trajectories, a smartly presented digital map of the audience’s movement whilst in the gallery. Through the use of video footage inside Bonington, fragmented shades of grey appear on a screen outside tracking popular sites and observing the viewer through an omniscient eye. Also dealing with mapping with a design emphasis is Alison Barnes, creator of two cartographies of the Basford area. However, this is no ordinary A-Z of street names but an interpretation of an area through recorded layers of text noting graffiti sites. The suggestion here is that a drawn map is a method of representing space and a place combining language font with geography.

Animator Andy Love has produced a wall-sized projection of his life-drawing animation. A black and white, high definition animation of wit depicts careful craftsmanship of 3D Max. There is the suggestion of the artist using technology, setting perimeter levels in software and allowing the characters to in a virtual world draw a model in a life class, turning the pencil into a mouse back to a simulated pencil.

There were works of varying dimensions such as S Mark Gubb’s school desk. A historical torture device come heavy metal band, ‘Iron maiden Piece of mind’ is scraped into the wooden school table with ink well, delivering a statement of rebellion and dissatisfaction at what school presents to youth. We are also given a wall full of anonymous snippets of drawings restricted to 30 x 30 cm sheets of cartridge paper like a public space art wall. Here I felt that quality and consideration seemed unimportant until I became captivated by a pencil drawn plug socket with trailing wires, hand-drawn low on the wall, mimicking the reality of its electrics and paper and pins like those surrounding it.


"Half Empty" Neal Creswell

The show is worth a view for the outstanding works exhibited. My problem with this exhibition is that many artworks didn’t read from one to another with any sort of over arching idea. The curation seemed tired and this appeared to be more of an open, current practice show. I did leave feeling enriched by some areas and numb by others, I suggest you go and see what you think.

The show is on at Bonington Gallery and 1851 Gallery at Nottingham Trent University until 9 May

NTU website

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