Drawings and sculptures by one of Britains most high-profile living artists, Antony Gormley (b. 1950), come to the Phillips
this summer. This is the Turner Prize-winning artists first U.S. museum exhibition of works on paper. Known for his sculpture, installation, and public artworks that investigate the human form and its connection to natural and architectural surroundings, Gormley is also an accomplished draftsman. Antony Gormley: Drawing Space introduces approximately 80 works on paper that span the artists nearly 40-year career along with two recent sculptures, emphasizing the intrinsic link between the two media. The exhibition is on view June 2 through Sept. 9, 2012.
Drawing Space follows the presentations of Gormleys drawings at the Museo dArte Contemporanea Roma in 2010 and the British Museum, London in 2002. The artist regards drawing as a core part of his artistic process. Often made at night, they are spontaneous, direct, and employ unusual materials such as blood, earth, casein (a milk-based protein), and bleach. Although mostly using his own body, Gormleys figures address collective experience and memory. This exhibition presents an overview of the artists works on paper and the relationship they have to his sculpture.
The Phillips is pleased to introduce Antony Gormley as a graphic artist to American audiences and examine closely the evolution of his process, says Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski. His work pushes us to consider arts central role in the human experience, a value shared by our founder Duncan Phillips who believed in the power of art to transform the world.
The exhibited works are organized to underscore the themes of body and space. Groups of drawings and prints are intermingled with powerful works including Mansion (1982) and the recent Breathing Room XXIV (2010). Gormley explores the human figure and its environment in every way imaginable, from blurry figures and landscapes devoid of color in Body and Light (a set of 33 drawings, 199095), to tracings using Gormleys own body as a template in Bodies in Space (two large-scale lithographs, 2007), to high-energy, whirling shapes that suggest orbits and galaxies in Clearing (a series of drawings, 200509).
The exhibition sheds light on the way that drawing and sculpture have been in continuous dialogue throughout Gormleys career. The artist describes drawing as a halfway house between the materiality of sculpture and the mentality of imagination that allows for experimentation, in contrast to the planning demanded by sculpture. His drawing studio is a quiet and private space devoted to intimate action and contemplation, while his sculpture studio next door is bustling with activity. The interconnection of the two media becomes clear in the broken and incomplete lines of the two featured sculptures Clasp II (2010) and Aperture XIII (2010), summing up Gormleys artistic premise: to simultaneously explore the body and go beyond it toward the infinity of space, posing the question of what it means to be human.