The exhibition, “Drawing Connections” February 10, 2020 – August 7, 2020 at the 18th Street Arts Center (Airport Campus has drawn (pun intended) to a close. But it lives on in documentation, the video of the show below, the works of the artists who participated, and the words of those who organized and responded to it.
“Drawing Connections aims to trace the invisible networks between a selection of current artists in residence at 18th Street Arts Center, both from our 18th Street campus and our Airport hangar. The show highlights how artists from different backgrounds and whose practices range from traditional to experimental art can dialogue through one of the earliest and most fundamental tools for human expression, drawing. This process of mark-making reveals the initial creative impulse that may later take the form of a video, a performance, a piece of music, an art installation, a painting, or a drawing itself. This curatorial exercise intends to delve into the essence of the multivalent creative practices of the artistic community of 18th Street Arts Center.”
Art historian Susan Power writes:
“Defined in art historical terms by its materials— works on paper in pencil, charcoal, chalk, ink, watercolor, and so on—drawing encompasses a broad spectrum of human activity across time and culture. Ubiquitous and perennial, drawing crosses the boundaries delimiting disciplines and geographies. Drawing connects us over the ages to our earliest human ancestors and our childhood selves. Even the etymology of the word, related to the verb “to draw” and deriving from Old English “to pull,” can have a plethora of meanings—drawing arms and drawing blood are two, which tragically jump to mind during these incredibly challenging times. Within the context of our current crises, the very premise of the 18th Street Art Center exhibition “Drawing Connections” takes on unanticipated significance, as do so many other activities often take for granted in our daily lives.
The first open-call cross-campus exhibition since 18th Street Art Center expanded its residency program to the Santa Monica Airport locale in 2019, “Drawing Connections” sought (seeks?) not only to showcase the fertile dialogues between work by all their artists in residence, whose practices cover a myriad of approaches, but also to encourage encounters and conversations among the artists and outside communities. Occupying the two wide corridors running the length of the former airplane hangar, the exhibition space invites circulation and exchange, luring artists out of their adjacent studios to mingle with fellow artists, art world professionals and enthusiasts, friends, neighbors and visitors from afar. But the ways we now connect have also undergone a radical shift with the existential threat of the pandemic. The participatory, experiential dimension of “Drawing Connections” was thus short-lived due to the sheltering-at-home orders in effect since mid-March.
The practice of drawing involves making connections—between the physical and the mental, hand or body and mind, concept and form, observation and imagination, perception and thought, interior and exterior. Reflecting on the conceptual underpinnings of the show, the exhibiting artists contributed work that engages with the medium in all its diversity, representing an astounding array of concerns. Together, the multi-generational group of twenty-five artists offers a remarkable cross-section of approaches running the gamut from traditional to experimental, from intimate and personal to interactive and collective. Together, the artworks converse across materials and techniques, complicating any notion of media-specificity, exploding any sense of unity inherent to drawing, and opening it up to endless possibility.”
Featured artists: Deborah Lynn Irmas, Dan S. Wang, Luciana Abait, Debra Disman, Judith Gandel-Golden, Gwen Samuels, Luigia Gio Martelloni, Julia Michelle Dawson, Lola del Fresno, Loren H. Harris-Heller, Joan Wulf, Doni Silver Simons, Pamela Simon-Jensen, Crystal Michaelson, Daniela Schweitzer, M Susan Broussard, Yvette Gellis, Encounter, Rebecca Youssef, Alexandra Dillon, Melinda Smith Altshuler, Nellie King Solomon, Rebecca Setareh, Ameeta Nanji, and Claudia Concha.