Thoughts on drawing and the curriculum
Rather than seeking an essentialist definition of drawing as a practice I intend to examine different paradigms of art curricula to see what they yield in terms of an understanding of the recent developments in drawing practice. In this I hope to follow Wittgenstein’s advice and find the meaning in the use. In particular the question of what is replacing the period of Post-modern art production, and what will be its most likely effect on the practice of drawing will be considered.
The first issue is to trace the periods of aesthetic preference and their impact on drawing curriculum, with particular attention being paid to Post-modernism as the precursor to its inevitable successor. The next will be to look at some current practices in drawing to begin to gauge what is now emerging in the studios as indications for the future development of drawing.
The continued relevance of drawing is understood to not be in question since drawing, in the sense of aesthetic conceptual notation, will not go away. In fact the practice of drawing under Post-modernism became so ramified as to include ideas such as drawing with materials, installation and performance art, coupled with photographic practice. Drawing as evidence of the constant process of artistic re-skilling places it at the center of each new periodization of aesthetic practice. Deskilling-skilling in current drawing practice owes a great deal to the Post-modern attitudes that replaced Modernism as the dominant aesthetic practice, and will inevitably frame whatever future practice emerges.
John E. Penny has taught sculpture, drawing, fine art, and theoretical studies in Australia, Great Britain, and the United States. After graduating from Maidstone College of Art, UK, he then completed his MFA in sculpture, with a minor in drawing, at Ohio State University, USA. In 2003 he received a PhD in theoretical studies from the University of Leeds, UK.
Since 1974 he has exhibited work in Australia and Great Britain, and recent work has been exhibited in Baltimore. Occasional writings have been published in Australia, Great Britain and the USA. He currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.