Drawing the Line
This exhibition was inspired by the many RISD classes, but particularly those of firstyear Foundation Studies students, who visit the Museum's Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs to study and learn from work in this collection of some 20,000 objects. Many exceptional works of art on paper are seldom seen in the galleries because of their sheer number, the amount of appropriate exhibition space available, and because works on paper are especially vulnerable to deterioration with prolonged exposure to light which weakens the paper fibers and fades many media.
Drawing the Line is intended to suggest the unbounded variety of visual effects feasible primarily through the use of line. In the prints, drawings, and photographs on view, which date from the 16th century to the present, one sees the many decisions an artist makes in the seemingly simple process of drawing a line. An artist first decides upon a medium and then chooses the tool or tools to apply it and the support on which to work. As you look at the exhibition, you might think about how the artist's manipulation of line contributes to the meaning of the piece. What is the weight of the line? What direction does it take? Is the line studied or spontaneous? What is its relationship to other lines in the picture? Does the line create boundaries or suggest depth? These are just a few of the questions students consider as they look at these works in relationship to their own drawing assignments.