Alighiero e Boetti Aerei1978
Aerei belongs to a series of large-scale drawings made by the Italian artist Aligheiro e Boetti during the 1970s. The drawings are characterised by the use of either a blue, black, red or green ballpoint pen to create rows of parallel marks. This time-consuming, Zen-like, repetitive gesture contrasts with other techniques employed within the same work. The bold graphic drawings of aeroplanes that appear to fly across the canvas, for example, were by specially commissioned cartoon artists.
Cy Twombly Untitled 1971-2
Twombly’s drawing is dominated by the grid and the urgent pencil lines. It is only under close inspection that the versatility of its energetic marks gradually emerges. The pencil lines are accompanied by equally strong indentations grazed into the surface. Areas of white paint also provide a surface for delicate imprints. Within these layers lie a wealth of possible marks charged with action and emotion.
Willem de Kooning Untitled c.1950
This pastel and charcoal abstract composition is typical of the work produced by de Kooning’s work from the 1950s. Exploring the relationship between form, line and colour, it conveys a sense of energy and dynamism with its frantic marks and swirling composition. De Kooning established his reputation as an Abstract Expressionist painter in the mid-twentieth century, when he was resident in New York City.
Helen Frankenthaler Untitled 1961
Frankenthaler is one of the leading figures of the ‘second generation’ of Abstract Expressionists, and her work shares their concern with spontaneity and gestural brushstrokes. ‘A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once’, she has said. ‘It’s an immediate image… though I think very often it takes ten of those over-laboured efforts to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronised with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute.’
Vija Celmins Galaxy #1 (Coma Berenices) 1973
Although principally a painter, Celmins is also known for her intensely-worked drawings, often depicting vast empty spaces, whether oceans, deserts or the night sky. ‘I began to see that the graphite itself had a certain life to it’, she has said. ‘Even though you may think they (the galaxy drawings) came from lying under the stars, for me, they came out of loving the blackness of the pencil. It’s almost as if I was exploring the blackness of the pencil along with the image that went with it.’
Chuck Close Self Portrait 1995
This pixillated image of the artist has been built up point by point on a cellular grid. Close is known for his photo-realist paintings and portraits, which are often based on photographs. In 1988 he became a quadriplegic following a spinal artery collapse. However, he has continued to draw and paint, with a brush or pencil gripped between his teeth or strapped to his hand.
Martin Kippenberger em>Untitled 1989
Kippenberger made hundreds of drawings on hotel stationery, works that appear to embody a fixed place and time in his travels. However, though he often lived in hotels for weeks or even months, he often acquired the notepaper from other sources, without staying at the hotel. The stationery became, like so many things he encountered, a readymade material for his art.
Maria KontisSpread Out Across the World 2006
Using pastels on velvet paper, Kontis creates a convincingly realistic image. She often uses drawing to depict various kinds of documents: photographs and newspapers are common in her work. Here she plays with the illusion of a photograph of two tourists on Bondi Beach. The layer of pastel creates a kind of veil which separates the viewer from the original image.
Edward Ruscha Coiled Paper1973/h3>
Ruscha takes a playful approach to drawing, working with a range of unlikely materials including blood, egg yolk and here gunpowder. The self-reflexive quality of these two works extends to their subject, both depicting blank pieces of paper. The accordion fold carries associations with one of Ruscha’s best-known works, a fold-out book depicting every building on LA’s Sunset Strip.
Philip Guston Artist in His Studio 1969
Guston’s cartoonish figures appear to be as related to the comic strip tradition as they are to the history of art. This drawing shows Guston in the guise of a hooded Ku Klux Klansman working on a self-portrait in his studio. Having become established as an Abstract Expressionist painter, Guston turned to figurative painting and drawing in the 1960s. He intended his images to be interpreted in the light of the political violence of the decade and often used the figure of the Klansman as a kind of ironic self-portrait.
David Hockney To Queens, New York 1961
This work dates from Hockney’s first visit to New York in summer 1961. It reflects his interest in creating a narrative without relying on realistic figurative imagery. Fragments of text, perhaps from advertising slogans, snatches of overheard speech or business logos, accompany a graffiti-like figure (with gleeful devil’s horns) to suggest the artist’s exploration of the city.
Michele Zalopany City of the Gods 1986
Zalopany is known for her large-scale realist paintings. This drawing depicts the ancient city of Teotihuacán in Mexico. Looking down from the Pyramid of the Moon, it shows the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun. The scale of the drawing and its soft, flowing lines suggest an affinity with the Mexican Muralists, with whom Zalopany shares a concern with social history.