Robert D'Arista, Monotype

Monday, February 28, 2011

Exhibition Opportunity for Students

7th Annual


Postmark Deadline for Entry: April 13, 2011

From Manifest Gallery's website:
Every year Manifest seeks to energize students and recent graduates of art and design programs towards higher goals, professionalism, and public-mindedness. Therefore, for a seventh year in a row, we offer this challenge to students and their professors in regional and national college programs to show us what you've got, bring it off campus, and share it with the everyday viewing public.

We believe there exists tremendous unexposed quality amongst people pursuing degrees in art and design. Revealing new artists is part of our mission!


Manifest's is now seeking submissions for the Rites of Passage 2011 exhibit. All submissions must be postmarked or emailed no later than April 13, 2011.

One exhibit will feature the best work from artists about to receive or recently awarded an undergraduate degree from a regional, national, or international college art or design program. All entrants must have received or be scheduled to receive a college degree in 2010, 2011, or 2012, and provide an academic reference’s contact info.

For more details go to: Manifest Gallery

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Figure in Space

Relating The Figure to its Spatial Context

When we draw the figure it's obviously the human form that first captivates, then dominates our interest. In the presence of the naked body of the model, who is going to notice that her torso and head are framed by a distant door, or that an easel's vertical support is visible just behind her? Perhaps we feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the figure and think that our time is best spent working out that problem first before trying to add something as mundane as the chair upon which the model sits, or the background which, after all, is merely the background. Many beginning draughtsmen would gladly "outsource" the drawing of their backgrounds if that were possible.

In critiquing student drawings in progress I often note the absence of any attempt to address the contours or shapes that are formed by the supporting structures of chair, pillows, or background elements, all of which, in fact, supply wonderful negative shapes that actually assist the locating and proportioning of the figure. The reply I most often hear is, "I haven't gotten to that yet." By the end of the pose these issues often remain unvisited and unresolved, producing a type of drawing all too common in beginning drawing classes. The figure floats in a sea of white paper. Robbed of its spatial context and the cues to depth provided by the figure's overlapping of elements of the space, the drawing never achieves a convincing depth or volume, no matter how sensitively the contours and tonal modulations of the body are rendered.

The artists shown here all place a value on dealing with the figure, not as symbol or sign, but as a form seen within a specific spatial context. From Leonardo's elaborate analytical perspective projections, to Vuillard's squiggling linear probes, to Giacometti's obsessive search for position, scale, and direction, all of these artists reveal an attempt to relate the figure to its space, to explore the phenomenon of corporeality, of "embodiment," and the mystery, if such a Romanticism may be excused, of "the spirit made flesh."