“The unifying factors in Line and Image are visual. They intimate and often embody the subject matter that might concern a northern European artist, as argued above, but they by no means bespeak a common subject matter among the artists. The exhibition’s points of cohesion boil down to the simple, empirically distinguishable presence of a certain kind or kinds of lines and almost any kind of image, as long as there is a visual intricacy in the interaction of that line and image. Non-objective drawings, no matter how line-filled, are bot applicable to this concept, nor are drawings whose technical treatment is too painterly (too dependent on chiaroscuro or a featherly stroke), or too simple (too starkly geometrical, naturalistic, or otherwise visually rudimentary). In effect, the artists here all speak the same visual language. They inflict it in differing dialects, their vocabularies are highly individual, even idiosyncratic, and they all convey disparate messages.
…The exhibit’s main purpose, however, is to introduce a North American audience to the current manifestation of a Northern European visual mode, practiced by artists of both genders, varied reputations, all living generations, many nationalities and myriad subjective outlooks. These artists are the world’s most devoted wielders of the drawn line, and they wield that line in the service of a vision that melds fact and fiction, the seen world and the imagined. This rich and engaging contribution to art goes on today as it has for hundreds of years, and we will do well to become familiar with it. Line and Image, it is hoped, will serve as a tantalizing introduction.”
Excerpt from Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing catalogue, 1987
Accompanying this exhibition is the catalogue Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing, edited by Peter Frank and published by Independent Curators International (ICI). Please visit our shop for more information.