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Drawings and Works on Paper from the IMMA Collection

An exhibition of drawings and works on paper from IMMA’s Collection opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday 13 December 2005.  Drawings and Works on Paper from the IMMA Collection brings together a number of very recent acquisitions to the Museum’s Collection which are being shown alongside more familiar material.  The exhibition offers proof of the ongoing importance of drawings to contemporary art practice, whether this takes a traditional form or breaks newer ground with computerised approaches or with new media. It takes issue with the commonly held view of drawings as mere preparatory work for something else, as a stage along the way to an artwork rather than as a final statement.   It also reveals the ceaseless experimentation in terms of content and practice that artists continue to display. 

A grid of nine self-portrait drawings by Brian Bourke, entitled Self-Portrait with Blue, Red and Green, proclaims the use of the self-portrait as a vehicle for the portrayal of a wide range of expression involving the kind of candour that other sitters might find difficult. Bourke’s use of colour forms a marked contrast to Brian O’Doherty’s Drawing for Marcel Duchamp, where the monochrome of the graphite enhances the mechanical process through which this very different portrait was achieved. Brian Maguire’s cibachrome photographs of pencil portraits of children in the Favela Vila Prudente in São Paolo, were installed in the children’s homes raising questions about appropriate contexts for artworks. David Godbold’s practice, like that of Brian Maguire, has always had a strong political edge.  His digital drawings on tracing and computer paper are taken from both popular imagery and the classical fine art tradition, which Godbold makes fun of in his work.  Mark Manders’ drawings, a recent acquisition to IMMA’s Collection, were originally hung, unframed, like sheets on a clothesline, exploring the relationship between the domestic environment and the creative environment of the studio.

Colour is not the primary quality we associate with drawing. In Sean Scully’s beautiful pastel drawing, gifted to IMMA by the artist in memory of the late Dorothy Walker, the layering of colour, the blocks of verticals and horizontals speak of depth, complexity and ambiguity. Other abstract drawings in the exhibition include new works by Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, while a delicate flower drawing by Willie McKeown is so subtle that it appears like a minimal colour field painting at first glance.

Drawings are traditionally relatively small in scale. Oxygen by Hughie O’Donoghue is extraordinary for its scale as well as for the emotional force of the drawing and asserts the power of the medium. The sense of a figure emerging from the charcoal markings puts the drawing on a level with classical paintings of a similar scale.  The canvas ground for this drawing also references painting.  Alice Maher regularly plays with perceptions of scale, moving from the tiny to the gigantic, often in surprising scenarios, in Coma Berenices the knot of hair reaches mythic proportions.  The connections between painting and drawing are evident in another large-scale drawing, this time by Bill Woodrow.  In Untitled, the medium is oil on paper but the process is undeniably drawing. 

More familiar work from the IMMA Collection includes drawings of architectural motifs in graphite and tippex by Rachael Whiteread and a similar subject in charcoal by Samuel Walsh. The oak tree from which the leaves in Tom Molloy’s Oak Drawings derive is unique to the barren landscape of a particular area in the Burren in Co Clare. The 96 drawings from which the 32 shown here are taken, play on issues of individuality and commonality, in a drawing style from which individuality is carefully witheld.

Drawings and Works on Paper from the IMMA Collection continues until 17April 2006.

Admission is free.

Opening hours:      Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am-5.30pm
                              (except Wednesday 10.30am to 5.30pm)
                               Sundays and Bank Holidays 12 noon- 5.30pm
                               Mondays, 24 – 26 Dec, Good Friday  Closed

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected].    

13 December 2005