Shotgun Review

From Houston:  Paper Space

By Rachel Adams October 9, 2012

Paper Space, a group exhibition currently on view at Inman Gallery in Houston, is a well-balanced exhibition of drawings primarily made by sculptors. Showcasing a diverse range of works by emerging artists alongside canonical figures such as Fred Sandback, Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, and Lynda Benglis, the thirty-four-person exhibition covers much of the gallery’s space, with studies for future or past projects, sketches of ideas, and individual drawings made for the sheer joy of putting pencil to paper. The exhibition begins with Linda Ridgway’s May 21, 1982 (2011), a graphite drawing in the front entrance. Ridgway, known for her feminine bronze castings of flowers, pillbox hats, and lace, continues this theme with a sculptural drawing of a suspended apron. In the main room, a group of twenty works are hung salon-style. One gem in the cluster is Michael Jones McKean’s Untitled (2009). This work is a view of a bridge-like structure with a multicolor cloud rising from behind. This work suggests impermanence, as this cloud seems to ascend the picture plane. McKean’s sculptural works also include investigations of color, form, and material: his ephemeral, man-made rainbow currently arcs high above the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Nebraska. 

Dewitt Godfrey’s Spear No. 2 Café (2009), with its portrait orientation, also recalls his sculptural work: large, cylindrical steel objects installed in passageways or stacked against

Installation view of Paper Space

Paper Space, 2012; installation view, Inman Gallery, Houston. Courtesy of Inman Gallery, Houston. Photo: Rachel Adams.

buildings. Hanging in the doorway and possibly referencing the placement of his sculptures, this drawing flirts between a brainstorm, a schematic representation of existing work, and an individual drawing on paper.

The works in the exhibition span seventy years of art making, but noticeably the techniques and approaches to drawing have altered little in that time. Gouache, ink, watercolor, charcoal, and graphite on paper or vellum are as common today as they were in 1943. The historical works are fresh and feel as contemporary as the works produced in 2012. Paper Space reinforces the idea that no matter your medium, the act of art making often begins with putting hand to paper.


Paper Space is on view at Inman Gallery, in Houston, through October 27, 2012.


Rachel Adams is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at AMOA-Arthouse in Austin, Texas. Her upcoming projects include Seher Shah: Constructed Landscapes and ShapeShifting: New Methods of Drawing by Bethany Johnson and Ann Tarantino.  

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