| contemporary drawing |

Drawings & Notes

30 July 2022
drawing Kara Walker | Your Secret Pain, 2021 | Graphite, ink and shell white on paper, 57.1 × 76.2 cm

Kara Walker

Your Secret Pain, 2021
Graphite, ink and shell white on paper
57.1 × 76.2 cm

Kara WalkerRing Around the Rosy
10 June – 30 July 2022
Sprüth Magers, London

Kara Walker
The Colonists Day of Judgement, 2020
Walnut ink, shell white, pen, ink and watercolor on paper
66 × 101.6 cm

[from the pressrelease]
Sprüth Magers is proud to present Ring Around the Rosy, a solo exhibition of recent works on paper by Kara Walker. This is Walker’s second exhibition at the London gallery and brings into focus the breadth of her drawing practice. Her work within the medium is concurrently explored in depth in her touring museum exhibition, A Black Hole is Everything a Star Longs to Be, on view at the De Pont Museum in Tilburg, The Netherlands, through July 24.
Throughout her career, paper has been central to Walker’s practice, from the cut silhouettes that brought her early renown, to her small-scale drawing series and now monumentally scaled compositions. Drawing offers the artist a place to operate and develop in a transformative medium outside the heavily European male dominated discourse on painting. In Ring Around the Rosy, Walker’s dynamic inquiry into gender, identity, and sexuality is brought into poignant, suspended meditation across drawings of various scales; some produced as recently as this past year further elucidate the timeliness of her perspective on the present. Tracing the historical lineages of oppression and subjugation across centuries and continents, her work questions and confronts present-day matrices of race, power, and desire in the United States.
As is emblematic of her practice, the works on view are layered with art historical references. The eponymous drawing Ring Around the Rosy/Usher to the House of the Fall (2021) alludes to Edgar Allen Poe’s 1839 Gothic short story The Fall of the House of Usher, as well as Matisse, Blake and Bernt Notke’s medieval Danse Macabre, and the iconic children’s nursery rhyme. In The Origin of the World (Juried Art Competition) (2022), Walker makes pointed reference to Gustave Courbet’s painting of the same name, while rewriting his original intent for The Painter’s Studio (1855) to feature a Black painter at the centre of the work. The artist’s muse becomes the artist, vaunted by her beret, occupying the centre of the visual tableau.
The act of drawing has consistently been a way for Walker to reflect on current events and their overlap with history and myth. This exercise took on an extra dimension during the isolation of the pandemic, as she came to see the drawings as markers of passing time, similar to the meditative reading of the medieval book of hours. The imagery found within this series ranges from Biblical scenes to more contemporary acts of violence and strife, suggesting an interconnection of myth and reality across history. At the same time, drawing remains an act of hope for Walker: the personal devotion to time, and to the gesture of creation. 

Kara Walker
Untitled, 2021
Graphite and ink on paper
50.8 × 66 cm

Kara Walker
Eunich and Protégé, 2018
Graphite and ink on paper
33 × 48.3 cm

5 March 2020

Kara Walker

Untitled, 2008
ink on paper
71.1 x 55.9 cm

Kara Walker. Drawings
5 March – 4 April 2020
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Kara Walker

Imposter Syndrome, 2020
charcoal on paper
210.2 x 182.9 cm

Kara Walker

Trolls, 2012
gouache on paper
suite of 28 works on paper
17.8 x 26 cm (each)

[from the pressrelease] – Among the most acclaimed artists working in the United States, Walker utilizes a diverse range of artistic practices to explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, and violence. Although she’s best known for her cut paper silhouette wall installations and monumental sculptural works, drawing remains the core of Walker’s artistic practice. Previously kept within her private archive, these works on paper reveal the scope of Walker’s process, from sketches, studies, and collages, to texts and “dream journals.” Materials such as watercolor, graphite, and ink give the drawings a sense of spontaneity and immediacy. To view these works on paper is to realize the intimacy and intensity of Walker’s vision in creating her subjects, speaking back to history and thus simultaneously reforming it within the present. The figures within Walker’s drawings insist upon themselves as the protagonists of a new narrative, revealed to us through bodies and words and unspeakable acts.

Kara Walker

Untitled, 2002-2007
graphite, colored pencil, pastel, marker and collage on paper
(suite of 2 works)
27.9 x 21.6 cm (each)

21 September 2017
Kara Walker | The Laundress (Is Done), 2017 | watercolor and collage on paper, 102.2 x 67.3 cm

Kara Walker

The Laundress (Is Done), 2017
watercolor and collage on paper
102.2 x 67.3 cm

Kara Walker. Sikkema Jenkins and Co. is Compelled to present The most Astounding and Important Painting show of the fall Art Show viewing season!
7 September – 14 October 2017
Sikkema Jenkins, New York

Kara Walker | Christ's Entry into Journalism, 2017 | Sumi ink and collage on paper, 355.6 x 497.8 cm

Kara Walker
Christ’s Entry into Journalism, 2017
Sumi ink and collage on paper
355.6 x 497.8 cm

Kara Walker | Bitter Pill, 2017 | Chine collé, collage, and mixed media on paper, 102.2 x 67.3 x 3.2 cm

Kara Walker
Bitter Pill, 2017
Chine collé, collage, and mixed media on paper
102.2 x 67.3 x 3.2 cm

A weblog about contemporary drawing, scribbles, notes and an occasional painting or photograph. Click on images to go directly to original pictures, or on the links to learn more about the artist involved. 

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Drawings & Notes Weblog has been researching contemporary drawing since 2008. We recently left our old spot and moved here. Our old home will stay online, but will not be updated. Over the next period we will constantly update the archives here.