Brigitte Debois, Guy Hobbs, George Koochin, Heather MacAskill, Debra Rushfeldt, Carl Schlichting, Chuck Stake aka Don Mabie, Deb Thompson, Wendy Toogood, Peter Vilesik

May 5 to June 2, 2012


Drawing turns the creative mind to expose its workings. Drawing discloses the heart of visual thought, coalesces spirit and perception, conjures imagination; drawing is an act of meditations, an exorcism of disorder, a courting of artistic ideas; above all it is the lean instrument of visual formulation and vortex of artistic sensibility. “ Edward Hill, The Language of Drawing, 1966.

Drawing, one of the oldest forms of visual expression has played a crucial role in the work of artists throughout history. Whether used a means to an end, an end in itself, or as a conceptual springboard that challenges traditional definitions, drawing continues to be a significant part of contemporary art practice.

The Language of Drawing shows the work of ten artists who utilize drawing in as many ways. From the classical figure drawings of George Koochin to the elucidatory graphics of Chuck Stake (AKA Don Mabie), the drawings in this exhibition are records of the artists’ perception of what is before them, within them and around them.

In all instances the use of material, the drawing surfaces, the quality of mark making, and the scale of the artworks tell us a story about how the artists perceive and interpret the complex world in which we live. Visual responses that are meticulous and obsessive in nature, as in Heather MacAskill’s Triangulations series and Guy Hobb’s renderings of wildlife, or highly emotive as in Deb Thompson’s Aviary series or Peter Vilesik’s landscape drawings, take us on a roller coaster ride as we adjust our understanding of how a series of marks can end up representing so many different things.

Drawing is, after all, a vocabulary of marks or lines – straight, curved, thick, thin, long, and short lines – that can be rearranged at will, to create images that tell a different story in each new arrangement or manifestation.

The stories in Language of Drawing are as varied as the artists’ marks, lines and materials, or the surfaces on which they draw. Carl Schlichting’s quick sketches tell of how he resolves the design and structural aspects of his non-drawing art work; Debra Rushfeldt’s labour intensive charcoal drawings are, in a sense, stories or portraits of her rural community; Wendy Toogood’s animated visual journals form a narrative of her life in a small interior British Columbia town; and, Brigitte Desbois’ quiet portraits speak of her ability to see, interpret and record the private, yet highly emotive nature of her models.

All of these visual stories speak about the artists hands-on and highly personalized involvement with their subject matter and materials. Whether created with unconventional materials such as ball-point pens, gel pens, markers, recycled paper, or the traditionally accepted conté, charcoal, graphite, oil stick, gouache and pastel, their work is visceral in nature, at times obsessive, and always evident of an intimate engagement with their art.

Helen Sebelius
Guest Curator
January 26, 2012