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History Illustration Science

Six Centuries, 700 Scientists, 300 Groundbreaking Milestones: A New Book Examines the Invaluable History of Science Illustrations

October 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sagittal section of the body of a male; An Atlas of Topographical Anatomy: After Plane Sections of Frozen Bodies, Christian Wilhelm Braune, Philadelphia, 1877 © Courtesy US National Library of Medicine. All images courtesy Taschen

From medicine and biology to chemistry and astronomy, a massive new book published by Taschen chronicles the unparalleled contributions of illustrations to scientific study. Compiling more than 300 distinct charts, renderings, and graphs within its 436 pages, the volume opens with early developments like Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation and Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentrism, which positioned the sun at the center of the solar system. It then travels throughout the following six centuries, capturing everything from the use of anesthesia and zoological studies to current-day renderings of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. In addition to the illustrations themselves, the book also details how such visuals continue to impact both the theories and principles that are the foundation for scientific discovery and the general public’s conceptions of how the world works.

Science Illustration. A History of Visual Knowledge from the 15th Century to Today is available now from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

“A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2”, an ultra-high-resolution computer model gives scientists a look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe, Goddard Space Flight Center’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA, 2014. Image © NASA

A slice of the lower part of the root of horseradish cut transversely, An Idea of a Phytological History Propounded, Nehemiah Grew, London, 1673 © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Rar 6191

Spectra of the stars and nebulae, ‘Spectrum Analysis,’ Henry E. Roscoe, London, 1885. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, D.C.

Application of anesthesia, ‘Illustrations of Strange Diseases and Their Surgical Treatments,’ Hanaoka Seishū, 1805, illustrated by Tangetsu. Image courtesy US National Library of Medicine

Montgolfier balloon carrying the Marquis d’Arlandes and M. Pilatre de Rozier, Paris, 1783 © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Tissandier Collection

 

 

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Art

Hyperrealistic Drawings by David Morrison Reflect the Fragile Ephemerality of Organic Life

October 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Magnolia Series No. 3,” colored pencil on paper, 20 x 20 inches. All images © David Morrison, courtesy of Garvey | Simon Gallery, New York, shared with permission

Artist David Morrison highlights the fragility and fleeting nature of life through fresh magnolia blooms or a parched maple seed pod. With underlying shadows that imply sunlight or an overhead lamp, Morrison’s drawings are deceptively realistic, appearing like three-dimensional organic matter resting atop blank sheets of paper.

Depicting burst pomegranates or an iris on the brink of opening, the colored pencil works reflect the relationship between the whole specimen and the delicate veins, stems, and fleshy material responsible for sustaining life. “I became obsessed with drawing branches and tree trunks by looking at them through magnifying glasses that allowed me to peer deeper into an astonishing world of abstract shapes and patterns. I then realized the complexity of nature and how magnificent it is,” the artist says in a statement. “Every time I start a new drawing the discovery process starts anew.”

For more of Morrison’s still lifes, visit his Instagram and Garvey | Simon Gallery, where he’s represented.

 

“Maple Seed Pods” (2022), colored pencil on paper, 23 x 30 inches

“Chinese Lantern Drawing” (2022), colored pencil on paper, 21 x 26 inches

“Pomegranate” (2021), colored pencil on paper, 18 x 28 inches

“Magnolia Blossom Series No. 1,” colored pencil on paper, 18 x 18 inches

Left: “Firewood Series No. 9” (2018), colored pencil on paper, 24.5 x 14 inches. Middle: “Iris Series No. 5” (2020), colored pencil on paper, 26 x 14 inches. Right: “Firewood Series No. 1” (2018), colored pencil on paper, 36 x 21 inches

The artist in his studio

 

 



Art Illustration

Quaint and Deceptive Hand-Drawn Installations Question the Concept of Home and Belonging

September 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Anastasia Parmson, shared with permission

Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”

Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.

 

Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:

What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.

Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

 

Anastasia Parmson. Photo by Maja Baska

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Portraits by Arinze Stanley Glorify the Resiliency of Nigeria’s Next Generation

September 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Portrait of Resilience #1″(2021), charcoal and graphite on paper, 47 1/2 x 36 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, courtesy of Corridor Contemporary, shared with permission

In Deconstruct, Lagos-based artist Arinze Stanley (previously) acknowledges the children and teens who will come to define Nigeria’s politics and culture in the next few years. “I believe the youths are the building blocks of every nation,” he says. “I feel most compelled to project the positive image of our youths through this body of work in my attempt to dismantle the stereotype around the Nigerian youth. I believe our leaders of tomorrow are the biggest assets of today.”

Working in graphite and charcoal on paper, Stanley renders hyperrealistic portraits of earnest figures often with faint lines bisecting their faces. Portions of their torsos reveal a brick backdrop, suggesting that their consciousness and presences in the world are still taking shape. More dense works like “Fruits of Labour” draw on art historical motifs traditionally associated with power and resiliency, portraying figures in glorified poses with weapons and arms raised in protest. The incredibly detailed portraits rail against the turbulent political landscape of Nigeria, the world’s perception of the country, and its issues with police brutality, the latter of which the artist generously speaks to in a 2021 interview with Colossal.

Deconstruct is on view now at Corridor Contemporary in Philadelphia. Stanley often shares clips of his works-in-progress, which you can find on Instagram.

 

“Portrait of Resilience #5” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 65 x 55 inches

“Unwritten Memoir” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 47 5/16 x 41 7/8 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #3” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 46 3/4 x 47 1/16 inches

“Fruits of Labour” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 72 x 54 1/2 inches

Left: “Portrait of Resilience #4” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 49 1/2 x 31 7/8 inches. Right: “Portrait of Resilience #2” (2021), charcoal and graphite on paper, 41 x 29 1/2 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #6” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

“Portrait of Resilience #7” (2022), charcoal and graphite on paper, 17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

 

 



Art

Symmetric Drawings on Antique Ledgers Balance Energy and Consciousness

August 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Mantra Amplifier/Deep Listening Device. The feeling of humming at the heart. This is a story of the song the bee sings to the morning glory and the humming inside the bee-eater” (2022), 150 x 100 centimeters. All images Tanya P. Johnson, shared with permission

Conveying the “texture of a threshold,” the mixed-media drawings that comprise Tanya P. Johnson’s ongoing Wisdom Engines series invoke passing between wakefulness and sleep or life and death. Mirrored renderings entwine gears, levers, pulleys, and audio equipment with flowers and geometric motifs in elongated columns, referencing the shape of the human spine. The bisected works reflect both a connection between entities and finding balance through somatic experiences and symmetries.

Drawn on vintage ledger paper, the pieces are “tools for consciousness hacking,” Johnson says, instruments for confronting the systems we’re accustomed to. Each work “generates subtle awareness, cultivates wisdom, and wicks fear. They symbolize the ways movement and breath can be used to interrupt patterns, to strengthen electromagnetism, and to stabilize energy.”

Living between British Columbia and her native Cape Town, Johnson works across media, and you can find more of her projects on her site and Instagram.

 

“Boundlessness/The Four Immeasurables. Technology of (a) mantra, a vector” (2020), 100 x 72 centimeters

“Wisdom Engine. Leveraging gravity to create awareness of awareness. A page from the guidebook” (2021), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Whale prana and the Flaming World Tree. A visual pulse of wicking fear from the planet.  A story that includes the twin Seed Keeper girls, Whale as Time Keeper and the bendy nature of time.  It is simultaneously an architectural-cartography of Maha Bandha” (2022), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Folding Time. Art in the time of Corona. A consciousness map of eternal now” (2020), 100 x 72 centimeters

“Morning Call. Technology of (a) mantra, a vector” (2020),100  x 72 centimeters

“Texture of threshold. The awareness in my mouth of electromagnetic transformation” (2021), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Making Radiance/Evolute1, a screenshot. Mechanics of aligning and organizing life force in the vessel” (2021),100 x 72 centimeters

 

 



Art Illustration

Let the Wild Rumpus Start! A Retrospective Celebrates the Illustrated Classics of the Late Maurice Sendak

August 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Where the Wild Things Are” (1963), tempera on paper, 9 ¾ x 11 inches. All images ©The Maurice Sendak Foundation, courtesy of Columbus Museum of Art, shared with permission

The late artist and author Maurice Sendak is responsible for bringing us some of the most beloved, iconic childhood stories, and his distinctive style and fantastical beasts defined classics like In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, and of course, the ever-popular Where the Wild Things Are. Opening this fall at the Columbus Museum of Art, an expansive retrospective surveys Sendak’s unparalleled contributions to both children’s literature and the discipline, more broadly.

Wild Things are Happening is the largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date, containing more than 150 sketches, original illustrations, storyboards, and paintings from his own projects and collaborations. The show also references his myriad inspirations and influences with works by William Blake, Walt Disney, and Beatrix Potter, among others.

Wild Things are Happening runs from October 22, 2022, to March 5, 2023, before heading to Paris and other locations. A concurrent exhibition of Sendak’s performance-based works is on view at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry in Connecticut through December 16. (via Creative Boom)

 

“Where the Wild Things Are” (1963), tempera on paper, 9 ¾ x 22 inches

Mockup for the Cover of “Nutshell Library” (1962), ink and tempera, 10 3/8 x 8 1/8 inches

“Higglety, Pigglety, Pop!” (1967), ink on paper, 11 ½ x 9 inches

“Little Bear” (1957), ink on paper, 11 x 8 ½ inches

Design for the Poster of “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Higglety Pigglety Pop! Opera,” Glyndebourne Production (1985), watercolor on paper, 33 ½ x 23 ½ inches

“Rosie and Buttermilk, her Cat,” character studies for “Really Rosie” animation (1973), watercolor and ink on paper, 13 ¾ x 15 5/8 inches

“Self-Portrait” (1950), ink on paper, 10 ¾ x 16 ½ inches