A Drawing Show of Artists in Philadelphia Selected by Alex Kanevsky and Bill Scott at The Philadelphia Sketch Club is an inspiring collection of drawings which stretches the imagination and boundaries of what one thinks of as drawings. From traditional pencil and charcoal drawings to abstract mixed media like gouache, acrylic and house paint, the show is a carefully curated exhibit displaying the state of the art of drawing as considered by two of Philadelphia’s finest artists. Instead of a salon style exhibit with art packed from floor to ceiling, the show gives each piece of artwork room to breath and the viewer the opportunity to examine the work without others elbowing for attention. The historic gallery/studio looks like a room in a museum.
DoNArTNeWs asked Alex Kanevsky about the process of assembling the collection for this extraordinary exhibition of diverse drawings. DoN said, “I know you know a lot of people.” Alex replied, “Well, Bill knows a lot more people than I do. The process was simple. We went to a coffee house, we sat down and tried to write a list of all the people who we know and liked. We figured since this is an educational show and did it because we wanted to see these people’s work in one place. We just invited everybody whose drawings spoke to us.”
Kanevsky continued, “And after that list, which initially was fairly limited, it kept on growing because every couple days after that meeting, I would call or Bill would call and say, ‘How about that person?’. And that’s pretty much how it happened.” DoN asked, “Did you do studio visits?” Alex said, “We did some studio visits. You know, this started with a presentation here about a year ago at The Sketch Club and we saw that it would be fun to do this show and we approached the president with the idea. But when it actually came down to organizing things I was away. I was away the whole summer, so I didn’t get to do many studio visits. I knew what people did and whoever I didn’t know Bill sent me the images over the internet. We did make some choices from the images because we knew what the work looked like in general.”
“These are people whose work we know and like. So it didn’t come out of the blue.” DoN asked about how Alex felt about the end result, he said, “I was so impressed. We were worried that it might look spotty or not very cohesive but once we hung it we were both really impressed with the level of the drawings. Some of the drawings here I just absolutely love them. There were some really good surprises, for example, Michael Rossman’s drawings, but I never met him. And I wanted to have those drawings herein the show because I had admired them for about ten years. Then there’s other drawings I like but I didn’t know what they would give us but never the less they are beautiful.”
We talked bout the influence of the internet and how images are flattened out because of screen resolution but Alex Kanevsky expressed his pleasure at the works when they arrived. He said, “There are some good surprises this way. Some of the work I didn’t know at all because they were one’s that Bill liked, but we kept each other in the loop. If I suggested something then I would send him images. It was a really interesting process. Every single drawing is something we are happy to have here.”
DoNArTNeWs talked with co-curator Bill Scott about the collaboration, “I think Alex approached me once up here about doing a show. And then we mentioned it to Bill Patterson and he said, ‘Sure.’ Then we met because he was about to do the Woodmere show, long before, but the one conscious decision was not to overlap, to give a chance to the people that were not in the juried show. We tried to, well it might be a bit of a rub, but we tried to not just have the same show again.”
DoN asked how Bill Scott decided? Was it the most memorable images? “We both picked people and asked them to send us pictures. About half of them got back to us but in the end each one of us picked ones we liked.” DoN asked, “So you each got to pick some? Was there cooperation?” Bill said, “Yeah, we did it all through e-mail when he was away. It was a lot of work.” How did selecting images from the internet work out? “I really like juried shows but for this each of us, if not both of us knew the artists work. So, I knew what I was looking at. I knew what they were and a lot of them I saw in person. I did a few studio visits, Amanda Bush, Mary Page-Evans. Alex knew Richard Taransky. Doris Staffel, I like her. And John Nazarewycz, I love his work, I knew them. Eileen Goodman, I knew already. So, you know, there’s no point to it, it’s just pictures. We wanted to hang a spacious show so that everything would look important.”
Bill Scott said, “I’ve seen a lot of shows that are so over hung that you might get a migraine headache so that you don’t want to be there. You have to soothe everybody’s ego because they’re in the show, I want people to feel good for having come to see it. To feel inspired for having been here. I’d rather have a show where I feel like I’ve actually been somewhere rather than, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ I’d rather leave wanting to see more.”
Drawing Show at The Philadelphia Sketch Club, Laura Velez, Follow, graphite on mylar
Saturday, October 20th is The Philadelphia Sketch Club‘s annual fundraising gala called Out of the Past…Into the Future. Featuring fine wines and culinary specialties, the event celebrates America’s oldest artist run arts club with special guest reknowned photographer Zoe Strauss. Dress is creative cocktail, black tie or costume. For tickets contact 214 545 9298.
Written and Photographed by DoN Brewer
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