The greatest assemblage of contemporary drawing one may ever see is currently on view in the exhibition titled “Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper“, at the Katonah Museum of Art.
Untitled (t.02.3), 2002 Blue tape on paper by Christine Hiebert.
Lesson / Koan : Collect only one thing.
River Rock and Smoke, 4/13/90, #12 is one in a series of sixty-one unique works, which John Cage produced with Ray Kass at Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia in 1990.
The exhibition is the product of a life’s searching by a special eye, that of Wynn Kramarsky, who in a direct and succinct talk to the opening night crowd remarked, “When I walk into the studio it is the sensuousness of the paper and the sensuousness of the gesture that grabs me and that I now share with you.”
9.21.95, 1995 Graphite on paper by Mark Sheinkman.
For nearly five decades, Sally and Wynn Kramarsky have amassed over 3,000 original works on paper with a primary focus on Modern, Minimalist, Conceptual, and Process Art dating from the 1950s to the present. Moving away from representation and narrative themes, the work on exhibit demonstrates art in its purest physical form: line, color, shape, texture, and composition. Drawn/Taped/Burned celebrates the beauty of a fluid line, the energy of scrawling shapes, and the mood expressed by a single band of color. As the title suggests, the artists in the exhibition employ many objects in the service of mark-making—not just the traditional pen or pencil, but also ash, wax, string, smoke, tape, tea, and tar.
Drawing Everything in My House- Towels, 2001 Ink on paper by Suzanne Bocanegra.
Works in the collection reflect the relationship between artists and their mediums. In discussing how he has amassed his collection Mr. Kramarsky explains, “I really start out by looking at something and saying, ‘How is it made?’ Not, ‘Why is it made?’ That’s not nearly as interesting to me. In the initial moment, how was this made? What happened? What happened when the artist put the pencil or pen or brush to paper? And because it is almost impossible, when you work on paper, to correct it, that initial moment is crucial. That interests me: that somebody has the courage and the idea to make that original mark.”
Drawn/Taped/Burned is organized by Ellen Keiter, the Museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art. Ms. Keiter has brought together 74 original works on paper by 66 artists who explore geometry, process, text, and unorthodox materials. The exhibition features some of the biggest names in the art world, as well as the newest generation of contemporary artists. Artists include Carl Andre, John Cage, Mark di Suvero, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Roni Horn, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Joel Shapiro, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Christopher Wilmarth.
Peat Bog Sprawl, 1971 Pencil on paper by Robert Smithson.
“Viewers must trust their own instincts and imaginations rather than rely on the artist for meaning,” Keiter says of the exhibition. “Given time, this act of looking can be quite liberating, even enthralling. Too often abstraction is easily dismissed; it is the patient viewer, however, who reaps the greatest rewards of close observation.”
Step (#35) 1971 watercolor on paper 8 7/8 x 5 3/4 inches by Richard Tuttle.
The Katonah Museum of Art, one of the most celebrated small museums in the country, was founded over 50 years ago by volunteers from local communities as an exhibition venue for fine arts. The 10,000 square foot building designed by the late eminent architect, Edward Larrabee Barnes sits among a stand of magnificent Norwegian spruce trees.
Nestled in the historic town of Bedford, Katonah is a hamlet 44 miles north of Manhattan. It is named for a Native American from whom the land of Bedford was purchased in 1680 by English colonists.