Review of the Customs House Gallery Exhibition ‘What Is Drawing?’

What is Drawing? Exhibition at the Custom House, South shields shows a variety of artists’ creative views and interpretations of ‘what is drawing?’.  This exhibition shows a range of work by a number of talented artists, demonstrating a variety of skills and techniques used as well as a range of mediums. The exhibition runs from 21st September -17th November.

The artists’ work looks at their own personal views on ‘what is drawing’. The exhibition shows a variety of styles and mediums. Their ‘out of the box’ works show that a drawing does not have to be a typical traditional approach using pen on paper as a form of mark making. The exhibition demonstrates a range of ideas, including more traditional two dimensional drawing, to contrasting three dimensional modern conceptual art installations.

I enjoyed the exhibition, and I think that each piece works well with one another, as well as individually in their own right. One work I personally liked was Sally Madge’s ‘Hot Charcoal Drawing’. This piece is composed of pages torn from a note book to construct a larger rectangle. The paper has been burned using hot charcoal, this makes individual one off pieces on each rectangle of paper. Her method is almost uncontrollable leaving random marks of shapes and colours. I particularly like the limited colour palette that allowed a varying range of tones that contrasted against the simple plain background.  I like the almost sepia tones and hues the burning has formed on the paper and the torn edges of the note paper add an aged feel to each piece. The overall composition is ordered with even spacing between each note page, I feel this creates a touch of control which is a complete opposite to the burning and ripping of each page. I found this piece by Sally Madge very interesting and inspirational, and full of creativity.

In the overall exhibition I feel all of the art work shows a contrast of styles, skills and techniques. I believe the overall variation of successful ideas both complement each other in the gallery space and emphasise the contrasts between it and the work it is exhibited next to. I think this works well as it shows the difference in interpretations.

I think the concept of the show is very successful. This exhibition made me consider that there are many traditional and non-traditional ways of drawing; it was thought provoking allowed me to consider the art of drawing. To summarise this particular gallery exhibition demonstrates that there are very different views and ideas as to what drawing is. In conclusion, my understanding is that this exhibition proves that drawing isn’t just drawing. It can be interpreted differently by the artist and the viewer. I feel it shows a drawing can be anything, anything that an individual would like it to be. In my opinion this exhibition shows that there is no right or wrong as to what a drawing is.


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