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 Drawing in Public

 December 6, 2010 - February 18, 2011
Opening Reception & Artist Talks:
Dec. 6, 2010, 6:00-8:00 pm

Beehive Collective "Picture-Lecture"
Jan. 26, 2011, 6:00 pm

*The "Picture-Lecture" is canceled for Jan. 27, 2011

All Together Now by Cassie Jones

All Together Now by Cassie Jones, 2010

CAC Gallery, Cambridge Arts Council, City Hall Annex
344 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Cambridge

As an immediate, portable, and inexpensive medium, drawing is perhaps the most fundamental of artistic pursuits, and as such, has long been valued as a means of communication. The lines, marks, and forms that are the raw material of drawing constitute a visual language that transcends the limitations of knowledge and experience. Graphic forms alone can evoke a wide range of analogy and response. The work in the exhibition, Drawing in Public, presented December 6, 2010 through February 18, 2011 in the CAC Gallery, falls along a spectrum from realism to abstraction, from reference to metaphor. With a variety of approaches, processes, and media, the artists in this exhibition translate an intimate pursuit into the scale of public dialogue, presenting four propositions for drawing now. Drawing in Public is organized by Independent Curator Liz K. Sheehan.

:: Press Photos Available for Download at:

Drawing in Public includes graphic banners by activist collaborative The Beehive Collective; a new cut-paper installation by Astrid Bowlby; "drawing room," a mobile project led by Alex Rheault that invites community participation in drawing activities; and a series of sketchbooks and works on paper by Cassie Jones. The Beehive Collective will give a "Picture-Lecture" in the CAC Gallery on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm. Click here for information on the "Picture-Lecture."

The Beehive Collective, an art-activist group headquartered in Machias, Maine, has gained international attention for its collaboratively produced graphics campaigns focused on stories of resistance to forces such as globalization, resource extraction, and biotechnology. Each campaign begins with extensive interviews with affected communities that the Collective then translates into complex drawings, avoiding the use of text and human characters to make their images accessible regardless of literacy and language. The resulting "anti-copyright" images are printed as large-format banners and downloadable flyers, used by the Collective as educational and organizational tools for encouraging dialogue, critical reflection, and strategic action. More information on their most recent campaign The True Cost of Coal can be found here:

Alex Rheault (Portland, ME) exhibits work in a variety of media, combining materials from sound to debris to words. Her most recent projects confront order and chaos, drawing as experience, discovery through failure, and the gaps between the extremes of the tidy and the untidy. In 2006, Rheault founded drawing room in Portland, Maine as a space for building community around drawing-related activities. Currently, drawing room is "a nomadic and roving project that invites exploration, invigorates dialogue, and inverts assumptions about art, art practices, and artists of all kinds. drawing room expands limits and welcomes failure, learning, and humanity by celebrating risk and change."

For Drawing in Public, Rheault will extend her community-building experience to Cambridge, bringing together youth and senior groups in a series of drawing workshops that explore common themes such as memory and time. In addition, Rheault will set up drawing room within the CAC Gallery for the duration of the exhibition, providing space and materials for visitors to create and display their own work inspired by the workshop discussions.

Rheault received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and her MFA in Visual Arts from Vermont College. She is currently Chair of the Illustration Department and Director of the Fashion, Costume, and at the Maine College of Art, Portland.

Astrid Bowlby's (Philadelphia, PA) cut paper installations explore notions of density, accumulation and scale with the sparest of materials: ink, paper and scissors. Each element is analogous to a drawn mark or a word on a page, carefully chosen and ultimately vital to the larger whole. Bowlby's minimal tools, and the shapes she fashions with them, are in marked contrast to the material that spills across wall and floor like a stream of consciousness. This disparity is part of the mental exercise in which she hopes viewers will engage, to continue her narrative process: "Art is philosophy and entertainment for people who are visual and kinesthetic before they are verbal. I am not a preacher or pedant. I hope I do visually what a poet does with words." Bowlby's site-dependent installation for Drawing in Public will function in part as a window into her own studio process, revealing its erasures, decisions, rejections, and breakthroughs, bringing this "hidden" practice into the public.

Bowlby is currently a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A native of Maine, she received her B.F.A. from University of Southern Maine, Gorham; her M.F.A. is from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work has been shown widely throughout New England, New York, and the Philadelphia area, and is currently included in On the Mark at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston. The Clouds are Full of Rocks, Bowlby's site-dependent installation for Drawing in Public, functions in part as a window into her own studio process, bringing this "hidden" practice into the public by revealing its erasures, decisions, rejections, and breakthroughs.

Like the Beehive Collective and Astrid Bowlby, Cassie Jones' (Brunswick, ME) work demonstrates the communicative power of graphics. Inspired in part by scientific inquiry and a wider interest in discovering patterns, her colorful, non-representational forms suggest processes of transformation and metamorphosis. Each work is a complete thought unto itself, a closed system that both floats inside the paper's borders and appears to merge with it, thanks to the translucency of both her acrylic medium and the sheet of Dura-lar on which she makes her marks. Exhibited in large grids, however, the individual works expand, inviting the viewer to search out patterns among the elements. Within the repetition of gestures, color combinations, and volumes, a kind of formal language begins to emerge, one that ultimately points back to the artist's curiosity and intuition, rather than revealing a narrative. In addition to her larger works on paper, for this exhibition Jones plans to exhibit a number of her small sketchbook studies: spontaneous exercises that record thought, process, and time.

A graduate of Bowdoin College and RISD's MFA program, Jones has been a Fellow at both the Vermont Studio Center and the MacDowell Colony. Currently represented by Aucocisco Gallery in Portland, Maine, she is also a co-founder of Wethli Durrie Jones, a public art partnership that has worked on major commissions throughout the state of Maine. In addition to these larger works on paper, for this exhibition Jones extends the dialogue through a sketchbook exchange that invites gallery visitors to create and leave a drawing in exchange for one of hers.

:: Drawing in others, Boston Globe, 1/16/2011