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Drawing is autonomous

A new interdisciplinary research lab puts the spotlight on an essential, but often overlooked, practice
September 11, 2013
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By Liz Crompton

Drawing Lab Dessin co-founder Luanne Martineau. Her fellow members are represented by robots. Courtesy of Luanne Martineau
Drawing Lab Dessin co-founder Luanne Martineau. Her fellow members are represented by robots. Courtesy of Luanne Martineau

“For centuries, drawing has been a basis for something else: for painting, for sculpture, for architecture and for engineering,” says Eric Simon, associate professor and chair of the Department of Studio Arts. “But drawing is also autonomous — it is important in and for itself.”

Now, at Concordia, drawing is about to reclaim its place in the sun. Simon is one of four Department of Studio Arts teachers and artists who have collaborated to create Drawing Lab Dessin, a new research lab that will provide a platform for action and discussion around contemporary drawing practices. It’s set to launch this month with a series of exhibitions, lectures and other initiatives.

Simon and his colleagues François Morelli, Patrick Traer and Luanne Martineau were each working on their own drawing-related projects when the idea of a lab — which had been in the air for years — finally crystallized in the summer of 2012.

“That was when we realized we had all these projects going that could be gathered together under one banner. That’s when we knew the drawing lab was alive,” says Simon.

Bringing drawing projects under the same roof seemed only natural. “We are interested in exhibiting, publishing, teaching, discussing and disseminating drawing as a platform,” explains Morelli. “We are interested in its ubiquitous presence across disciplines, how it informs our understanding and contributes to the creation of knowledge.”

The research lab’s ambitious program of activities belies its physical manifestation — for now, a small room in the Visual Arts (VA) Building staffed by a research assistant.

According to Morelli, free, public initiatives like the exhibitions, lectures, panel discussions and research workshops planned for this autumn represent “the sum of our personal interests that cover the Drawing Lab Dessin’s mandate.”

Drawing Lab Dessin’s fall programming

Sol LeWitt Exhibition

Twenty-seven students are currently reproducing four wall drawings by Sol LeWitt, a pioneer of minimalism and conceptual art, in the FOFA Gallery and the Visual Arts Building under the supervision of LeWitt’s long-time assistant Anthony Sansotta. The FOFA Gallery vitrine installations will be on view until October 25; the drawing in the VA Building will be displayed for the next two years.

What: Sol LeWitt Exhibition: drawings #1180, #394, #103, #123A
When: On view until Friday, October 25, 2013
Where: York Corridor Vitrines, FOFA Gallery, Room EV-1.715, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W., Sir George Williams Campus
AND the Visual Arts Building,1395 René-Levesque Blvd. W., Sir George Williams Campus

Systems and Iterations Panel Discussion

Linked to the Sol LeWitt project, the Systems and Iterations Panel Discussion will be moderated by professor François Morelli and feature a conversation between Bernard Lamarche, Musée Nationale du Québec’s Curator of Contemporary Art; artist/educator Jocelyn Robert; and artist Diane Landry.

What: Systems and Iterations Panel Discussion (part of Concordia Homecoming 2013 events)
When: Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: York Amphitheatre, Room EV-1.615, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W., Sir George Williams Campus
RSVP: by September 27, 2013, online or call 514-848-2424, ext. 4397, or 1-888-777-3330

Deskilling and Reskilling of Artistic Production

With the help of international participants, the research workshop and lecture series Deskilling and Reskilling of Artistic Production will examine how contemporary artisans are navigating the digital age. It will also explore the thorny issue of how mass production and artisan craft affects the meaning and value of a work of art.

What: Deskilling and Reskilling of Artistic Production lecture series (by invitation only) and public reception
When: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Where: FOFA Gallery, Room EV-1.715, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, 1515 Ste-Catherine St. W., Sir George Williams Campus

Lectures from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Public reception from 7 to 10:30 p.m.



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