Ten Drawings: Christine Hiebert '84
Jan 17—Mar 10 2014
The Drawing Room
An exhibition by Graphic Design Adjunct Associate Professor and alumna Christine Hiebert BFA '84 (Graphic Design).
Reception: January 18, 5 – 7 p.m.
Hiebert has devoted her artistic practice to drawing for 25 years. Her distinct focus on the language of line as an expressive invention of the mind and the body is unique. Using traditional and non-traditional drawing tools, Hiebert's exploration of the art of drawing expands from the intimacy of a sheet of paper to wall installations in museums. This exhibition of 10 drawings reveals the range of her articulate experiments in linear abstraction over the last decade.
For Hiebert, the flat, white surface of a sheet of paper or the rotunda wall of a museum offers a specific site for the investigation of line. The texture and brightness of a sheet of artist's paper or the curve and height of a gallery wall engages her to reach into an elastic universe and "pull lines from thin air.” In these ten important drawings each gesture asserts its posture in the expandable white space, each mark a confirmation of consciousness. The stops and starts of each thin or thick, bold or faint line as it intersects or avoids another, evoke improvisational dance.
Hiebert has said, "In all of these drawings lines are joined and grouped in a way that both support each other and pull free in acts of independence. Often, a single mark radically changes the experience of space and movement in a drawing.”
Some works, including two small drawings from the (ct.05) series, focus on the malleability of one or two mediums. With blue tape and charcoal, these emerged shortly after the artist installed a monumental wall drawing in the rotunda space at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich in 2005. Following that on-site installation covering 6,000 square feet, Hiebert returned to an intimate scale keeping the sense of space and movement open on a single sheet of paper. Eager to combine the tape with other mediums, these drawings were her first forays in using charcoal and blue tape together. In another series representing a culmination of the earlier work in charcoal only, she often brushed the surface of the paper with rabbit skin glue to give it tooth that would catch and smudge the charcoal lines. The eraser also played a role, pushing whole abstract passages into the distance and giving context to the fresh, crisp lines that followed.
As various additional mediums started to come into the drawing process, Hiebert let each find its own sense of materiality and its particular function within the drawing as a whole. A number of the more recent drawings pit natural and manufactured materials against each other. The red earth in (rdl.13.4) was found on a walk in her working environment at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Dug from the ground, she integrated it with charcoal that was contrasted with blue adhesive tape, colored pencil and ink applied with a hard-edged brayer.
In 2008, Hiebert began drawing with inked brayers from block printing, rolling 4-inch wide tracks of black ink across the white page to create stark armatures of velvet blacks poised in the light. In (rd.08.8), red earth is rubbed onto blue tape in a collage of layered strips evoking the welded silhouettes of David Smith. Further researching the material potential of her tools, Hiebert began to draw with her thumbnail on the reverse of a sheet pressed to the inked glass to discover she could transfer muted lines and dotted textures that appear to have been made by weather. A shift of the tool to its edge gave Hiebert new lines with old media. Carving space with her tape or stacking sticks of charcoal or brayer lines in a graph of lightning over time, her compositions seem to fall out of the natural world.
Mindful of the history of drawing as a mirror of human expression over the centuries, Hiebert pursues her art with eloquent control and an insatiable drive to trace her own path of discovery. Her investigation of drawing has been supported by The Virginia Center for the Arts, Amherst, Virginia and the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming, where some of these works were made. Widely exhibited in New York and Europe, Hiebert’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.The Drawing Room
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