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Lines of Discovery: 225 Years of American Drawings

September 23 - December 31, 2006


A new exhibition at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts looks at the history of America through the art of drawing. Lines of Discovery: 225 Years of American Drawings opens Saturday, September 23 at the KIA and continues through Sunday, December 31, 2006. 

The exhibition is on loan from the Columbus (Georgia) Museum, which owns one of the most important collections of American drawings in the Southeast. Assembled over 25 years, the 144 works that make up Lines of Discovery celebrate the rich history of American drawing and attest to the unique properties of drawing and its status as the most intimate, immediate and versatile art medium. 

The drawings -- works on paper in a variety of media including pencil, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, pastel, tempera, ink, monoprint and silverpoint -- represent various styles and techniques by major artists from the late 18th century to the present day. 

While most of the artists in the exhibition are classified as painters (John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Robert Motherwell) or sculptors (Isamo Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, Jacques Lipchitz, Theodore Roszak), a study of their work shows they had a solid foundation in drawing.


(above: Mary Cassatt, Sara and her Mother with the Baby (no. 1), c. 1901, pastel on wove paper)


Lines of Discovery is grouped by several major themes. 

"European Traditions" includes drawings that date to the nation's early years by European-trained Americans.
Works featured in "A New and United Country" define the nation's identity through its unique landscape and people.
"American Renaissance and Cosmopolitan Outlook" consists of drawings that reflect American artists' involvement in international art movements such as Impressionism.
"Progressive and Avant-Garde Artists" focuses on works by Ashcan School artists and others who broke away from academic tradition and paved the way for modern movements of the 20th century.
"Regionalism, Socialism and American Visions" includes images by Depression-era artists who portrayed American life in the city and on the farm during a time of great uncertainty and economic hardship.
"Post-War Modernism" features groundbreaking images by artists seeking to free art from the shackles of visible reality in order to explore the expressive possibilities of abstraction.
Finally, "A Resurgence of Realism" includes recent drawings by artists who turned away from abstraction and discovered realism to be a more effective style for expressing their artistic vision.


Lines of Discovery: 225 Years of American Drawings is sponsored at the KIA by National City. The exhibition is free of charge and open during normal gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.


(above: Jan Matulka, Jazz, c. 1930s, ink on wove paper)


The KIA also offers a variety of events related to this exhibition:

* Art Appreciation class, Kirk Newman Art School - "Learning to Look: Lines of Discovery" with Greg Waskowsky (three weeks, begins Wednesday, October 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m.)
* Senior Day at the KIA - an afternoon of art and fun for people aged 62 and older. Free admission (Thursday, October 5, 2-4 p.m.)
* Art & All That Jazz - great art meets live music! Free admission (Friday, October 6, 5-7 p.m.)
* Sunday Funday: "The Big Draw" - free fun for families! (Sunday, October 8, 2-4 p.m.)
* Kalamazoo Art League lecture - "Lines of Discovery: American Master Drawings in the Columbus Museum" with Charles T. Butler, director of the Columbus Museum (Wednesday, November 8, 9:30 a.m.)


(above: Thomas Hart Benton, Wilbur Leverett, Galena, Missouri, ca. 1931, ink, sepia wash and pencil on buff-colored wove paper)


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