Drawing in the Present Tense explores the variety of ways in which contemporary artists from around the world have come to approach drawing as the primary element of their practice. One which is autonomous: an end in itself, rather than a means to an end in another, more substantial medium. In an era of advanced technologies where image production has accelerated—potentially beyond the capacity of human attention—what values can be attributed to the slow, deliberate process of drawing by hand?
The artworks featured in this volume are not confined to traditional tools; one can also draw on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and examples of this are incorporated into the narrative as one mediumamong many. Sections are grouped thematically by specific approaches, including abstraction and figuration, nature and artifice, social observation and critique. With essays and spreads for each section, the book’s selection of seventy contemporary international artists of diverse backgrounds and experience includes not only recognizable names such as Michael Armitage, Camille Henrot, Robert Longo, Amy Sillman, and Kara Walker, but also a host of emerging talents.
Beautifully presented in a visually appealing and tactile format with the feel of an artist’s portfolio, this is an inspiring overview of the best drawing practice today.
Claire Gilman is chief curator of the Drawing Center, New York. She has written articles for Art Journal, CAA Reviews, Documents, Frieze, and October, as well as authoring numerous essays for art books and museum exhibitions.
Roger Malbert is a curator and writer and was head of Hayward Touring at the Southbank Centre, London, from 2000–2018. He has been a judge for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and has contributed regularly to The Independent, Art Monthly, the Times Literary Supplement, the Art Newspaper, and Modern Painters.