making marks: the fine art of drawing
it has been said that one of the three basic instincts of the human animal (food and sex being the fundamental) is that of making marks…drawings are modest and intimate by nature.
drawings are arguably the most revealing, spontaneous and truthful rendering of the human imagination. it is the echoes of personality and speculation, of the marks of the individual, and of the perambulatory and the incisive thoughts of the individual.
Drawings also have another special characteristic: the subtle expression of an intangible but persistent morality.
drawings are seldom made in pursuit of an ideal, or of sheer beauty, but they do convey, in their immediacy and intimacy, a persuasive sense of truth.
the process of trial, speculation, experiment and detail is a raw one, not deterred, concealed or veiled by decorative artifice or emotive texture. the rewards of beauty are an incidental product of that pursuit of truth, and to be really experienced, a work of art needs to be felt rather than intellectually understood. the art of drawing is, i believe, the most direct sensory experience in the visual arts. furthermore, i do not believe that drawing will ever go away, for two reasons: that fundamental human instinct to `make marks`; and because drawing is the means by which the visual artist reason and speculates. i would like to add, perhaps optimistically, a third reason, which is that drawings have a subtle and infallible appeal to our human sensibilities.
In this sweeping collection of essays, Edmund Capon describes his lifelong fascination with art and the artists who, over centuries, have enlightened us and challenged the way we see the world.
He shares his passion for topics as diverse as the art of China and the Renaissance Old Masters, talks of personal encounters with artists such as Henry Moore and Sidney Nolan, and tells the stories behind some of his controversial acquisitions as the long-time director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, including Cy Twombly's Three Studies from the Temeraire.
Driven by curiosity and his love of the unorthodox, Capon applies the same level of passion to his discussion of football as to the ideas of Confucius. He sharpens his wit on the contemporary art world, where conceptual art – much of it devoid of beauty (and sometimes a concept) – reigns supreme. For this, says Capon, Duchamp, and his infamous Fountain, are at least partly to blame.
Featuring more than fifty beautiful reproductions of paintings and drawings from collections around the world, this collection is a fascinating insight into the mind of the liveliest and most generous thinkers of our generation.