Pushing the Form: New exhibit goes beyond the line

Artist Sam Vernon calls this pen and ink on paper work that incorporates the use of photocopying "Ghost Rainbow."

Artist Sam Vernon calls this pen and ink on paper work that incorporates the use of photocopying "Ghost Rainbow."

Darcy Brennan Poor used charcoal, plaster and ink on paper to create this 94-by-42-inch almost ghostly image of an old-fashioned radiator.

Darcy Brennan Poor used charcoal, plaster and ink on paper to create this 94-by-42-inch almost ghostly image of an old-fashioned radiator.

This drawing using colored pencil on paper by artist Peter Mollenkof is part of the exhibit 'Pencil Pushed.'

This drawing using colored pencil on paper by artist Peter Mollenkof is part of the exhibit "Pencil Pushed."

Sharon Louden's "Cathedra" is part of the exhibit "Pencil Pushed: Exploring Process and Boundaries in Drawing."

Sharon Louden's "Cathedra" is part of the exhibit "Pencil Pushed: Exploring Process and Boundaries in Drawing."

Bill Richards' detailed drawings show close-ups of flowers and nature.

Bill Richards' detailed drawings show close-ups of flowers and nature.

A 15-artist, 110-object exhibit at the University of Tennessee's Ewing Gallery on campus and the UT Downtown Gallery on Gay Street starts with the art of drawing. Then the line extends over and out, inspiring an array of two- and three-dimensional works that include sculpture, animation, collage and video. "Pencil Pushed: Exploring Process and Boundaries in Drawing" is "sort of a survey of the continuation of drawing, from the purely abstract to the more realistic," said Ewing Gallery Director and Curator Sam Yates.

The exhibit was created by UT alumni and artist Creighton Michael. Michael, who graduated with a 1971 bachelor's of fine arts in drawing, now lives near New York City. He is both a 'drawer,' painter and a sculptor.

Two years ago, Michael and fellow UT alumni and artist Bill FitzGibbons collaborated on a Ewing exhibit called "Filament." That's when Yates invited him to curate an exhibit focusing on drawing. The result is the expansive, contemporary works in "Pencil Pushed."

The pieces expand on the mediums used to create them as they explore principles of line and drawing. While they vary from 8-by-10 works to larger-than-life depictions, many "Pencil Pushed" pieces are two-dimensional framed drawings. Often they use the shades of the pencil or graphite — light grays to deep blacks. Others incorporate pools or lines of color, contrasts to the deeper shadow tones.

Traditionalists will enjoy the delicate, detailed black graphite on paper works of single flowers or woodland close-ups by artist Bill Richards. They'll recognize the images of everyday objects — a writing desk, bathtub or old-fashioned radiator — that Darcy Brennan Poor uses as models for her larger-than-life drawings of ink and graphite or charcoal, plaster and ink on paper.

More abstract are the nature-inspired ink drawings by William Pittman Andrews. Among them are his "Moth Drawings." Andrews created the black circling, doodling drawings based on his observations of the flight patterns of moths, Yates said.

Other pieces in "Pencil Pushed" are three-dimensional and made from materials that include paper and cardboard, black tubing and cloth.

Drew Shiflett creates textiles and sculptures from such materials as paper, cardboard, polyester stuffing, fabric and Styrofoam. Elisa D'Arrigo uses paper, cloth and thread to stitch together segmented sculptural forms that may hang on and away from the wall. Sharon Louden's placement of long tendrils of black tubing around a chair or stool creates three-dimensional installations incorporating line and form.

"Pencil Pushed" also incorporates videos and animations that build on their creators' use of drawing.

Jennifer Macdonald created a video using the 36 8-by-10-inch ink and acrylic close-ups she had drawn on sheets of Mylar. The animation stills are exhibited in four rows near the video in which the various images of a woman's face fuse. Artist Mary Reid Kelley uses drawings as the foundation of her performance, set and costume design in an 11-minute, rhyme-filled video "The Syphilis of Sisyphus." In the video, Kelley paints her face stark white and wears bulging covers over her eyes as she plays a 19th-century pregnant French girl.

Art from each of the 15 artists will be shown through Oct. 28 both at the downtown gallery, 106 S. Gay St., and the Ewing, located in the UT Art& Architecture Building, 1715 Volunteer Blvd. A 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 lecture by Barbara MacAdam, deputy editor of "Art News" magazine, will be followed by a reception. UT professors and Michael are among the members of a 12:15 p.m. Sept. 28 panel discussion about the exhibit. That discussion will be in Room 109 of the Art & Architecture Building.

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Pencil Pushed: Exploring Process and Boundaries in Drawing

What: 15-artist exhibit of contemporary works based on drawing

When: Through Oct. 28

Where: Ewing Gallery, 1715 Volunteer Blvd., & UT Downtown Gallery, 106 S. Gay St. Ewing open 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; Downtown Gallery open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Admission: Free

Events: Lecutre by "Art News" magazine Deputy Editor Barbara MacAdam, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, at Ewing; panel discussion 12:15 p.m. Sept. 28, Room 109, UT Art & Architecture Building

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