Tim Noble and Sue Webster, The Nosey 2014. Ink on paper. Diptych, each: 140 x 100 cm / (55⅛ x 39⅜ in)
A blank sheet of paper is an open space where artists might conceive ground-breaking ideas or where children might doodle with artless abandon. Paper provides our first experience with both the possibility for abstract thought and primitive mark-making, and the versatility of paper makes it important for the practice of countless artists past and present. Doodle & Disegno is a group exhibition that gathers over 100 works on paper to demonstrate that whether an elaborate drawing in pencil or a quick splash of ink, a piece of paper is an invitation to create a vast range of thought and emotion.
When Avigdor Arikha took up observational life drawing after years of pursuing modernist abstraction, he turned to paper first, drawing exclusively in pencil and ink before he tried to paint. For Amy Feldman, paper is a laboratory of spontaneous thought and a playground for experimentation, and she often draws with ink, marker or paint before transforming ideas from her works on paper into large-scale paintings. Michael Simpson similarly works out ideas on scraps of paper, including old newsprint, sometimes taking these ideas into large-scale canvases. Rachel Howard often uses a stencil technique in her paintings, and with her triptych Things that Grow (2018) she develops a similar method using pressed plants and flowers and ink on paper to create images with a ghostly presence. Artists as diverse as Lynn Chadwick or Bill Viola, known for sculpture and moving image respectively, use paper to jot down or explore ideas, and the works have their own distinctive force.
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