The Drawing Show at Windward Community College
Norm Graffam’s charcoal-on-chansons “Veiled cast.”
Image: peter tully owen

A new exhibit explores the hand-drawn world through the eyes of the artist


Mon, Nov 20

The Drawing Show at Windward Community College / “Drawing” is one of those words that carries particular weight and resonance, and a wide range of connotations. The word itself suggests both process and product, action and outcome, and many artists feel that while they may be constantly looking, they do not truly see until they draw.

The Drawing Show at Windward Community College’s Gallery ‘Iolani explores the multi-faceted nature of drawing in a diverse selection of works from local artists.

The college is home to the Atelier program (the focus of the last exhibition at the campus gallery) that celebrates and provides training in traditional practices of drawing and painting–those that focus on the honing of perceptual skills and the accompanying skills of the hand.

As Snowden Hodges, WCC faculty member and Atelier founder notes, “My primary objective for each new group of students is to help them to look closely at the structure and form of things, and to accustom them to the discipline of making drawings that respect and respond to their subject.”

This agenda can become a lifelong discipline, and is reflected in the works of several artists in the exhibition who find in the process of drawing many opportunities to bring hand and eye together, from Hodges’ own portrait and figure studies, to works like Norm Graffam’s “Veiled Bust” and Jonathan Busse’s studies of the studio setting itself.

Such works gain power and credibility through their capacity to convince us that what we see in the finished drawing is what the artist saw while creating the drawing.

The exhibition also includes works that suggest that the perception of external reality is not the only starting point for drawing, creating an interesting tension within the exhibition itself. Kloe Kang’s charcoal drawing “Thin City” is thin indeed, a gray shadow of its former self, which is revealed in a stop-action video that traces the internal evolution of the work. Yida Wang’s “Unfolding” series remind us that cultural conventions (in this case, Chinese landscape painting) may also serve to mediate both perception and representation, acting as a filter on the kinds of marks that are an artist’s visual language. Works by Don Dugal and Hal Lum use, in very different ways, the language of geometry as a way of exploring the essential structure of forms, while Gordon Sasaki’s drawings with shoyu (yes!) are a playful reminder that almost anything can be used as a means of making one’s mark.

The Drawing Show, at Gallery ‘Iolani, Windward Community College, 45-720 Keaahala Road, Kaneohe, Tue–Fri & Sun, 1pm-5pm, through November 20.