Peter Randall-Page: 6 charcoal drawings
Every now and again I put up a post about presentation. Especially when you are making large drawings, exhibition presentation makes all the difference to how the drawings are received.
I popped into the Leeds City Art Gallery the other day and they had put up a display of Peter Randall-Page's large charcoal drawings of organic forms. Randall-Page is a sculptor so as you might expect his drawings have all the hallmarks of a sculptural sensibility, from the use of cross contour lines to help the eyes 'feel' over the surface of these forms, to the use of the drawn black edges that cut right into the forms, to suggest that the drawn forms are bursting through the black charcoal drawing space and out into the gallery.
Above all these drawings are big and they require an observer to walk about in order to see them properly, as you can see in the image above, they are collectively quite a physical presence.
What I thought was very interesting about the presentation was that it reflected the way that Randall-Page would have had to begin the drawings by rolling out his paper.
Large paper usually comes in rolls and for an artist this has advantages and problems. The advantages are all to do with size and scale, the size of the paper can be decided on because you have to cut the paper into chosen lengths and in doing this you begin the process of measuring the size of the paper in relation to your own 'human' scale.
The disadvantages are to do with the roll. The curl of the paper is hard to work with and you are always fighting this, sometime reverse rolling the paper in order to flatten it and at other times putting weights on the corners to hold it down.
In this case Randall-Page has used the fact that the paper will always try to return to its rolled state, and uses a presentation method that reflects this.
He has used what look like broom handles to roll the ends of his drawings onto. Stapling the paper right into the wooden rod and then inserting a metal screw eye into each end, he is able to roll the drawings up when not on display and simply determine how pulled open they need to be when exhibition time comes.
This presentation method makes the drawings feel more like objects. This is a long way from the window mounted drawing behind glass, he is making a point about the physicality of these drawings and that we as observers need to be just as aware of rolled paper and how it physically operates as we do of the nature of the organic forms that he is drawing.
Cross contour drawing
Framing a large drawing