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Grids & Surrealism: Contemporary Challenges to the Picture Plane

PAPR Basic Drawing, VCUQatar

Faculty leader

Sage Lewis, Artist in Residence

Student participants

Afnan I Al-Mulla, Aisha Al Fadhala, Maha K Almaslamani, Noor H Al Thani, Sara K Al-Buainain, Se Hee Jang, Shouq M Al-Mana, Shurooq A Al-Jalabi, Yousuf F Bahzad

The strange, surprising, and playful in contemporary art owes a large debt to Surrealist artists who developed rigorous strategies of games, chance & accident, and serious play in order to create imagery they could not have arrived at otherwise. In Basic Drawing, students embarked on a wide range of material explorations and applied unconventional challenges to the picture plane.

After looking at Surrealist works, we tested associated strategies such as automatism, collaboration, games, decalcomania, frottage, and dislocation. From these tests, we contrasted the surrealist approach with more rational techniques incorporating grids, measurement, and geometry borrowed from Minimalism and Conceptual art movements. In the expanded field of contemporary drawing, we looked at artists who combine aspects of chance and accident with more ordered methods of structuring visual information. The sculptural, the digital, and the handmade are all fair game in contemporary drawing practices. Each student developed their individual subject matter and created a series of works that utilized a combination of chance, experimentation, and attentive intuition blended with order and precision for truly 3ajeeb! results.