press release

What is an outline? A sketch, an abstract, a preparatory drawing? Or a line that contains, that maps and defines? This exhibition brings together a selection of art works made since the late 1940s which are themselves outlines or which utilize outlines to compose the subject of the work. The transition from initial thoughts, seen in the work of Robert Adams, to the formal utilization of outlines by Michael Craig-Martin demonstrates that the outline, in all its guises, is an indispensible artistic tool.

An outline sketch helps us organize our thoughts. Ideas take shape on the page and lines become suggestive of what is to come. Robert Adams� preparatory drawings for sculptures are akin to mental maps; we can see his ideas change and develop as he tests new shapes and relationships on the paper. The intricate plans of Hannah Maybank�s drawings on tracing paper mark the intersection between an initial idea and the creation of a finished painting. Her overlaid lines not only exist in their own right but form an outline for an as yet unrealized work.

The outline also charts and defines the subject. In the work of Julian Opie and Andrew McDonald, the human figure takes form through a combination of lines. Pure clean lines do away with extraneous detail and present a bold confident pose, while scratchy and cross-hatched animated lines become imbued with emotional and expressive content respectively.

Outlines delineate what is inside and outside; they map architectural spaces in the painting of Patrick Caulfield and natural landscapes in Claude Heath�s work. Lines contain space and chart gradients, they suggest alternative ways of viewing our environments. More than being representational scenes, physical space is translated in pictorial terms through balance and counterpoise.

The outline has a double role. It marks the surface of the paper or canvas whilst also establishing a structure through which we can negotiate the objects under consideration. On the one hand we are in awe of the economy of Ben Nicholson�s etchings and Michael Craig-Martin�s clean and classical lines. On the other hand, we are engrossed with how both artists are preoccupied with a series of motifs that appear consistently in their work. Their sustained meditation of form and balance through the depiction of such items as goblets or shoes encourages us to reconsider how we perceive everyday objects.

only in german


Künstler: Robert Adams, Patrick Caulfield, Michael Craig-Martin, Claude Heath, Hannah Maybank, Andrew McDonald, Ben Nicholson, Julian Opie