Contemporary Figurative Drawing
Since the Renaissance, figure drawing has served as the foundation of artistic training, a crucial preliminary step in the process of producing a painting or sculpture. Figurative drawing today reaches far beyond the historical practice of drawing from life, with many artists creating drawings that engage with other artistic media, such as photography and video. William Kentridge creates his narrative animations by photographing the changes that result from his gradually making charcoal marks and erasures to a single drawing. Put together, the photographs create an animation, while the final drawing remains a palimpsest of expressive marks. Focusing on political issues, Andrea Bowers depicts activists whom she sources from photographs of rallies and protests, isolating them from the collective and rendering them on sparse sheets of white paper. Contemporary figurative drawing is also no longer limited to the materials of paper, pencil, and ink, as the definition of drawing has expanded to include media and techniques such as collage, paper cutouts, and installation.