Contemporary drawing celebrated at TMAG

Dirty Paper exhibition

Contemporary Tasmanian drawing is being celebrated in a new exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG).

Dirty Paper is the eighth partnership exhibition developed by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Contemporary Art Tasmania (CAT) since 2004. It features a range of new and existing works that have been created and curated in response to the TMAG collection.

“For the Dirty Paper exhibition, Jane Stewart, Principal Curator of Art at TMAG and I focussed on Tasmanian artists whose artistic practices were weighted in and informed by drawing and the kinds of material processes and intellectual approaches that are usually associated with it” said Michael Edwards, Director, Contemporary Art Tasmania.

Matt Coyle, Tom O’Hern, Joel Crosswell and Lucienne Rickard, each widely recognised for their innovative drawing practices, were invited to visit TMAG’s collection stores and meet with senior curators across multiple disciplines to explore particular objects and specimens.

The artists then began interpreting their chosen collection item through drawing. They were encouraged to push the boundaries of ‘drawing’ and, as a result, the exhibition includes a rich variety of mediums and approaches: from photocopies to photorealism, pen, collage, charcoal, paint, finger-printing, hammered ink, and animation.

Each artist has taken a different approach owing to their unique and existing interests and drawing style.

Matt Coyle has referenced the diorama from TMAG’s former Zoology Gallery, to build, and then draw, his own diorama fantasy.

Tom O’Hern’s childhood memories of TMAG led him to seek out the models of the megafauna Diprotodon and Thylacaleo which he has reimagined on large canvases and in animation.

Lucienne Rickard responded to two historic portrait busts.  She deliberately undermined the stiffness of this classical tradition by literally hammering ink onto paper to create the new image.

Joel Crosswell has created drawings of hybrid ‘moth men’ after viewing TMAG’s extensive collection of Tasmanian moths.

Tasmanian artist and writer Andrew Harper has donated his personal collection of zines, flyers and posters from Hobart’s 1980s and 1990s music and arts scene to TMAG, and has used these as the inspiration for his display titled Clifford and Febey. For this, he has curated a selection of photocopies and original drawings by two extraordinary yet little known Tasmanian artists from this collection: Rodney Febey (1959-2006) and Andrew Clifford (1966-2010).

Ms Janet Carding, Director of TMAG said that the museum was delighted to collaborate with CAT once again on this exciting new exhibition.

“This is a terrific chance for us to celebrate and support contemporary Tasmanian artistic practice, while also highlighting the breadth of TMAG’s collection”, Ms Carding said.

The exhibition title Dirty Paper comes from the influential English art critic John Ruskin (1819-1900). Ruskin was a great advocate for drawing who provocatively claimed that ‘all good drawing consists merely of dirtying the paper delicately’.

Dirty Paper is on show in TMAG’s Henry Hunter Gallery 6 from 15 February until 14 July 2019.