Bailin Studio


art ltd.

West Coast Drawings: Drawings VIII
at Davidson Galleries

Matthew Kangas

The Seattle component of the annual Koplin Del Rio Gallery drawing survey brought California artists to the Pacific Northwest for a refreshing, thought-provoking survey of the state of drawing. Like painting, drawing cannot be killed off by technology. Its appeal to artists transcends whatever computer or photographic skills they might have although several photo-based works were included. More significantly, one might ask, "Which artists are following stale traditions and which are using the mediums of pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, conté crayon and pastel to reflect contemporary issues or statements?" In the former category, well-executed work bordering on illustration (realism's dirty little secret) is represented by D. J. Hall (Cake Time, 2008), Grant Hottle (Roses, 2009), and Fred Stonehouse (Marsh Monkey, 2008).

In the latter, more interesting category, David Bailin creates enigmatic figures in landscapes;

Kim Frohsin makes compelling figure studies that recall Francis Bacon; and Hilary Bruce presents small views of natural catastrophes like river eddies, ocean whirlpools and geysers. Shay Bredimus made the largest work, Silent Treatment (2009), a mysterious and unsettling image of a reclining figure in a long dress. His 12 smaller ink portraits capture real psychological insights including several portraits of black gangstas in baseball caps or hooded sweatshirts. They have a social urgency much of the other work lacks. David Fertig's piquant pastels echo Turner's grandiose naval scenes but, at six-by-eleven inches each, take on an intimate, postcard art-reproduction feeling. Captain of Hussars 15th (2008) is an exception at 4-by-2 feet, but still too reminiscent of Old Masters. Similarly, David Ligare's redink Italian country vistas are dangerously close to late British art forger Eric Hebborn, whose meticulous Roman and Venetian scenes got him in a lot of trouble.

1: Axe • 2003 • Charcoal on Paper
2: Wall • 2002 • Charcoal on Paper
3: Wind • 2005 • Charcoal on Paper