In the Galleries - Notations: Contemporary Drawing as Idea and Process CLOSES January 7 at Kemper

Notations: Contemporary Drawing as Idea and Process In an era driven by conceptualism and abstraction, where does a medium that was once devoted to pastoral sketches, figure drawing and plotting out large-scale paintings fit in? This survey of drawings from the postwar period to the present examines two strains of modern use: to record repetitive, self-authored systems and to sketch out project proposals. Selected from the collection of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky (plus a few pieces they donated to the MoMA), the exhibit is loaded with formidable names, but it's most affecting as a compilation of scratches, strokes, tics, swerves and other marks of the searching hand. A series of three grid-oriented graphite-and-watercolor works by Agnes Martin delivers a triple shot of controlled subtlety — all the more so as it's bookended by Eva Hesse's dense and tense little ink-and-graphite grid, whose minute squares are maniacally filled in with tiny circles. For his series Subway Drawings (1973-2009), William Anastasi rode the subway with pen in hand, allowing the rail car's jolts and stops to record each journey on the page. Commuter, a contemporary drawing by N. Dash, updates Anastasi's approach, folding and refolding a piece of paper in her pocket over the course of her commute, then covering it in a thick layer of graphite to articulate the creases. Robert Ryman, by contrast, explores every shade of white in small, exquisitely layered works. And the list goes on, with exceptional contributions by John Cage, Richard Serra, Hadi Tabatabai, Sol LeWitt, Ellsworth Kelly and many more. Through January 7, 2013, at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Forsyth and Skinker boulevards (on the campus of Washington University); 314-935-4523 or www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (closed Tue., open till 8 p.m. Fri.).

 
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