It’s been a year since my daughter was born; that, and the building project we embarked on at the start of the year, have been swallowers of time. As a prelude to starting back in the studio in the new year, I was determined to make it to the TEGN exhibition hoping it would be inspiring as I begin to crank into gear again. I was not disappointed.
Any exhibition would benefit from being approached as I did, through wintry beech woods by bike, the twisting verticals of the skeletal trees slipping away in their subtle monotones. But this one needed no improvement; it was top class, eliciting in me a combination of the desire to seize drawing materials and start working, and a feeling of trepidation at the enormity of the task of reentering the artistic sphere.
I had been invited by Paule Ducourtial, one of the participating artists. Paule had some beautiful and subtle drawings on Japanese Bunko Hitachi paper, the product of a research trip to Angkor Wat. She uses black, white and cream to wonderful effect in her drawings, focussing the viewer’s attention on the intriguing forms she presents and the materials used. I was struck by the thought that it is the endless possibilities for combining material with form that link drawing and sculpture so closely.
Lis Nogel’s ‘Ved Stranden’ stood out for me, a wonderfully bold statement of a drawing; a self-contained, suspended structure that was apparently derived from a landscape. It had the brain baffled for scale and the clever use of three or four colours subdivided the subject into ‘zones’ that played into each other, vying for weight and attention.
I also liked some of Nils Erik Gjerdevik’s intriguing paint flourishes on paper, evoking something deep sea or outer space, and Ken Denning’s heavily worked, immutable canvases resembling musical manuscripts. Ronald Burns is an artist I also saw at the Grønningen 100 year exhibition. His fish and seaweed were straining at the limits of the frame, overrunning the mount, with elements on tracing paper pressed up against the glass.
For sheer exuberance Ole Sporring’s fecund flights of the imagination made me wonder at the contents of his mind, and for jaw dropping technical excellence it would have to be Karin Birgitte Lund, with her exquisitely rendered, though for me rather boring, still lives in pastel shades.
There was something for everyone here, from epic commentary on the plight of economic migrants to comic strip easy graphic style, a thoroughly rewarding show which reminded me, as if I needed reminding, that in the field of drawing just as in other artistic endeavour, the bar is set impressively high.