Bad Drawing–mistaken, misbehaving, malevolent, awful

Press Release

February 17–March 10, 2006
University Galleries on Sycamore, 628 Sycamore Street, Downtown Cincinnati

Bad Drawing is a group show that includes these artists:
Michelle Amos, M.J. Bole, Philip Brou, Jamie Boyle, Carmel Buckley, Denise Burge, Marshall Brown, David Burrows, Jason Butcher, Luca Buvoli, Ellen Cantor, Susanne Clausen, Evan Commander, Matt Coors, Mike Erickson, Jan Estop, Joel Fisher, Karen Gergely, Emily Hall, Mark Harris, Sarah Hollis, Andrew Hunt, Erin Hewgley, Elizabeth Jeffries, Alex Kvares, Peter Lloyd Lewis, Elaine Lynch, Julia Marsh, Ken Montgomery, Ryan Mulligan, Brian Nicely, Heather Phillipson, William Pope.L, Kit Poulson, Richard Roth, John Russell, Virginia Samsel, Petra Schilder, Chris Vorhees, Lawson Smith, Matt Waldbillig, Candace Waterloo

When I was looking after Fine Art at Loughborough University there were many discussions over the role of drawing in the School’s curriculum and in the wider sphere of contemporary art. Now that I’m in Cincinnati I remain as interested as I was then in the process by which drawing becomes “good,” in the way that it acquires status as a prioritized medium on account of claims made for its immediacy and directness, its effectiveness at realizing observation, and because of the value that tends to be placed on a coordination of hand and eye. Doesn’t this depend on first declaring certain other kinds of drawing to be “bad,” much as Nietzsche felt that a prior classification of what was not to be beautiful underlay the notion of aesthetic quality?

I’ve always wondered where this leaves those kinds of drawings that are inspired by marginal, less noble or objective interests, and those that make a virtue out of an uncoordinated or untaught relation between vision and mark-making. I’m interested too in where drawing is supposed to end and become something that isn’t drawing, not just bad, but not drawing any longer at all. To this purpose there are some works in this show that ask about the status of found images, of video, of sound, and installation when they are considered as a kind of drawing.

I’ve also wanted to acknowledge the aberrant teenage work of uncensored and troubled imaginations that gets ironed out in art school after being such an interesting component in High School portfolios. Bad Drawing acknowledges that kind of vitality as well as suggesting that the idea of drawing be considered as extending outwards into the margins of art and culture through the inclusion of several found, anonymous works.

Mark Harris