Drawing an Ambitious Exchange

Two of the country’s top art schools will celebrate the act of drawing with an ambitious project, The Drawing Exchange.

The Drawing Exchange is a collaboration between the Adelaide Central School of Art (ACSA) and Sydney’s National Art School (NAS) that aims to create an educational environment where audiences can interact with artists while they are creating artworks.

ACSA ran a similar project in 2014, Drawing Month. Back then, the school had just moved into their Glenside location and drawing directly on the walls was a way of breaking in the new building. Fast forward to 2017 and ACSA is building on the idea from three years ago.

The Drawing Exchange presents a cross-section of artists from both faculties along with some invited artists from Melbourne, Toowoomba and Sydney. Most of the 22 artists involved will draw directly on the walls at both venues, with a couple of projected video works included in the mix.

sala-2017-drawing-exchange-acsa-adelaide-reviewJessica Mara (photo: Alycia Bennett)

The exhibitions will run concurrently in Sydney and Adelaide beginning with installation week (Monday, August 7 to Friday, August 11), which is essentially an open studio where artists will be making work live.

“It’s the idea of the human being in the space making the work and giving audiences the opportunity to engage with them in an educational environment,” says participating artist Luke Thurgate.

The exchange highlights the value both institutions place on drawing as a methodology for teaching right across their curriculum. “ACSA and the NAS use drawing not just as a way to talk about drawing itself but to talk about thinking and making and all the possibilities inherent to that,” Thurgate says. “Drawing just happens to be a very efficient way of teaching those things.”

sala-2017-drawing-exchange-acsa-adelaide-review
Christopher Orchard (photo: Alycia Bennett)

A number of the artworks are site-specific or will be informed by the walls as canvases. For example, Sydney-based artist Wendy Murray is creating a panorama from Adelaide’s CBD by drawing frame-by-frame sections of the street from one end to the other.

“It’s a response to Adelaide itself but the format will be conditioned by the possibility of the walls,” Thurgate says.

Christopher Orchard is creating an ambitious piece where he will start on the top corner of one of the wals (which is 3.5m high) and crosshatch his way from one side to the other (activating the surface texture of the walls that have been used for previous shows).

sala-2017-drawing-exchange-acsa-adelaide-reviewRoy Ananda (photo: Alycia Bennett)

“They will be lumpy and have patched sections, they will have a whole history that will start to show through the hatch mark,” Thurgate says. “It will fade in and out in terms of the mark-making.”

The Drawing Exchange will allow artists a chance to experiment and be propositional with the works, as they won’t exist after the exhibition.

“The idea of the temporary or the semi-ephemeral drawing was a big part of the project,” Thurgate says. “It gives artists the opportunity to try out iterations of previous works or try something new.”

sala-2017-drawing-exchange-acsa-adelaide-reviewYve Thompson (photo: Ingrid Kellenbach)

One of the most important aspects of the project has been the exchange element with Adelaide-based artists Roy Ananda and Sasha Grbich creating works at NAS and a number of NAS artists creating works at ACSA. The installation week will be documented and the venues will swap footage and run it on screens at each location.

“There will be a range of exchanges that are happening across states, across artists, across institutions, certainly across audiences and artists,” Thurgate says. “The subtext is the notion of exchange or collaboration that has played out quite nicely.”

The Drawing Exchange
Adelaide Central Gallery and Teaching & Studio Building
Monday, August 7 to Friday, September 22
acsa.sa.edu.au

Header image: Luke Thurgate and Yve Thompson (photo: Ingrid Kellenbach)

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