In Search of Why We Draw: A Look at the artists

The latest exhibition opening at the Sandra Phillip’s Gallery explores an important question for many artists, why do we draw? The Gallery features the responses of three Denver artists through their work, Kate Woodliff O’Donnell, Joshua Field, and Irene Delka McCray.

Jewelry Box, Prismacolor Pencil on Stonehenge Paper 48″ x 35″ 2019

Kate Woodliff O’Donnell

The brilliancy radiating from O’Donnell’s pieces drew me into them when first entering the gallery. The scale considered alone is impressive, but once the medium of colored pencils is acknowledged, the appreciation of the labor put into each piece is immense. Her piece, Jewelry Box, is filled with little sweet treasures displayed in all of their reflective details. This reflectivity is mirrored back to the artist’s thoughts in her statement, “Drawing is merely a connection of lines starting from the most basic shapes and building towards the most beautiful rendered outcome possible.” Her taste for form and color describe the sweetness of many American childhoods and bring back fond memories through the flavors in her drawings.

Joshua Field

Joshua similarly builds connections through his series of pieces lining the West wall of the gallery. Two works sit as at the entrance of the gallery, separated from the others and appearing as a prologue to the rest of the narration. The imagery confronts the “veil that separates difficult notions of strangeness and belonging,” through the building up and breaking down of connections. The subjects of Joshua’s drawings are layered on top of a uniting background creating a dream-like environment. The uncorrectable nature of drawing requires that every mark has to be intentional and confident; two qualities radiating from Joshua’s work. Through the balance of direct and indirect visuals, the honesty of the series reveals itself.

Spirited, colored pencil, 2019

Irene Delka McCray

Focusing more on her technique in relation to drawing, Irene plays with the boundary between drawing and painting. To further relate her experience with wet and dry mediums, Irene shares, “I feel I have some limitations with drawing that I don’t have with painting, but those limitations can work to advantage to simplify…” Working with colored pencils; the built-up layers give these lively pieces their expressiveness. The remaining impressions of figures in the fabric captured, is emotive through the compressed folds. The burnishing of the colors pushes the boundaries of what a drawing is in its most finished state of being.

Claire Simpson Written by:

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