On a Human Scale

Peter Wegner, Resting Man, 2016, charcoal. Kedumba Drawing Award 2016. Acquisitions Judge: Paul Delprat.

On a Human Scale: Portraying the Figure
16 December 2017 – 21 January 2018

In addition to judging the 2017 Kedumba Drawing Award, Dr Whitehead has curated On a Human Scale: Portraying the Figure, an exhibition of figurative works from the Kedumba Collection for our upstairs gallery. This is showing alongside the Kedumba Drawing Award.

From the exhibition catalogue:

“As the title of this exhibition suggests, ‘On a Human Scale: Portraying the Figure’ focuses our interest on a significant feature of drawing practice in the Kedumba Collection: the human figure portrayed in its diverse mood and circumstance. My choice of works in keeping with this theme highlights those artists whose practice embraces the human form.

These works are taken from across the artistic generations, from the 1950s to recent years, and include established names and artists less well known to the public. Casting my eye across these works, 24 in number, I am struck and at times moved, by an individual artist’s treatment of a specific human subject and by its evocation on an intimate scale. They range from compositions of a solitary figure, two figures, or figures in a group. Some of these figures appear serene and self-possessed, others restless or discomforted, yearning or questioning. In pictorial terms such works make visible a shared sense of the human condition through the civilizing practices of Art.

We may also be attracted by the deft handling of these artists’ materials and by the expressive range which many of these works possess, opening-up layers of meaning for the viewer. However we may interpret these things, such works reveal an underlying characterization of a human subject, whether depicted as realistic or abstract, known to the artist or simply imagined.

We linger before these works and sense a kind of interdependence between them, each work conversing with its neighbour. We are drawn closer to them to look inwards: into each work and into ourselves. Perhaps we gaze at these drawings and gain some deeper insight into ‘being human’. Such is the impetus for this show: to evoke these artists’ personal vision which, in turn, reveals us to ourselves.”

© Derek Whitehead PhD

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