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Drawing Allowed Workshop with Anita Taylor and Sylvia Trotter

October 20, 2023 @ 10:00 am 11:30 am EDT

Drawing remains an essential element within the practice of many artists, designers, makers, architects, engineers, and many other professions involving forms of visualisation; for some it is their central focus. As a fundamental means of communication and expression, documentation and ideation, the act of drawing is a bodily, performative and instinctive means to see what we are thinking, to hone our vision, to represent the worlds we inhabit, and to capture and express our thoughts and experiences, In ‘reading’ drawings, we can follow the trace of a maker’s thinking, their inquiry and insight with a sense of immediacy while, at the same time, identifying through the marks made and forms and images depicted, connections across time, place, cultures, and lived experiences. The act of drawing is one of courage, care, and discovery.

One of the unique capacities of drawing is its near direct identification with the maker, as each drawing is inextricably bound, not just to the maker’s observational and editorial skills, but also to their mark making and technical skills in construction and exploration of an image or form. This is similar to other art forms, but based on the minimal, pared down means of production, a marking device or material plus a surface, the image is produced in a virtually seamless way through a visceral dynamic amongst the hand, the eye and the brain of the maker. Similarly, immediate forms of corporeal expression are fleeting or more mediated through the process of recording, forms like dance or song are intimately connected and produced through the body’s productive capacities. Drawing integrates its recording, documentary, and expressive, capacities into its formal mode of production. The immediacy, the reductive mediation of drawing, in terms of both its technology and its connection to the body, as a technique for making lasting images and visual forms, privileges drawing as a form of human image production and art making.

In this drawing session participants who will have different domains of knowledge – artistic, scientific, and indigenous – will each make three drawings that reflect on their experience of, and develop ideation towards, the themes of Thinking Allowed: social justice, migration, and the environment. Participants will use drawing as a methodology to:

  1. document an incident or observation,
  2. to reflect on and interpret this experience, and
  3. to form a proposition or hypothesis towards transformation and change.

Using drawing, participants will identify and address critical actions and propositions for change from their expert and personal perspectives. A further ambition of the drawing session is to produce a document that collates these drawings to form a collective set of visual observations and hypotheses for transformation as the outcome of this research project, a visual manifesto – thinking allowed, drawing allowed…

Please bring an an item, a photo, or a news article as an aide-memoire to a critical incident or observation that you feel strongly about.

Materials: pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, sketchbooks, erasers… and a space to draw.

**Drawing supplies will be provided and you are also welcomed to bring your own.

**This workshop has a limit of 20 participants.


Anita Taylor is a practicing artist, Professor, and Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee. She is the founding Director of the foremost annual drawing exhibition in the UK, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize [since 1994], and Drawing Projects UK, a public-facing initiative dedicated to drawing [since 2009]. After graduating from MA Painting at the Royal College of Art [1987], she became Artist-in-Residence at Durham Cathedral [1987-88], then Cheltenham Fellow in Painting [1988-89] and has shown her work extensively in the UK and internationally throughout her career, and her drawings are held in a number of major collections.

Sylvia Trotter Ewens, she/her (MFA graduate researcher, Studio Arts program, Concordia University) is a Honduran-Canadian painter based in the unceded Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, Canada. She received her DEC in Fine Arts at Dawson College (2014), followed by her BFA in Fine Arts: Majoring in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University (2018). She is a recipient of the Shirley Reed Graduate Scholarship and Lillian Vineberg Graduate Award. Her work has been exhibited in group and solo shows at the SMCQ’s Série Hommage exhibition (2023), Art Mur (2023), Jano Lapin Gallery (solo, 2023), Espace Sensible (2022), the Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Monkland (solo, 2022), AVE Gallery (solo, 2020), and ARTCH (2020).

4th Space

1400 Maisonneuve Blvd W
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8 Canada
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(514) 848-2424 ext. 5445
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