Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Showcasing contemporary art

Artists push the limits of drawing in Wheaton’s first biennial exhibition

What makes a drawing a drawing? Although this art form is traditionally associated with the basic elements of pen, pencil and paper, contemporary drawing is being pushed in multiple directions—off the page and into territories linked with other artistic practices, including sculpture, dance and film.

Biennial posterOn Feb. 27, Wheaton will launch an art exhibition that reflects on the boundaries of drawing. The 2013 Wheaton Biennial, titled “Drawing Out of Bounds,” features 54 works by 54 artists from across the U.S. and France. The works represent a diverse range of experimental work by today's artists.

A biennial is a major exhibition of contemporary art that takes place every other year. The tradition began with the Biennale di Venezia, which was launched in Venice in 1895 and is still being held.

For Wheaton’s inaugural biennial, the work was selected by juror Judith Tannebaum, the Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum of Art. Tannenbaum has organized numerous exhibitions focusing on painting, sculpture, video and interdisciplinary work. She will deliver a public talk in the galleries on March 20 at 6 p.m.

The exhibition showcases sculpture, photography, video, painting, fiber arts, printmaking, collage and traditional drawing using nontraditional tools or processes. The work also varies in content, from the sublime to the serious to the purely aesthetic.

Resa Blatman’s (Boston) wall sculpture “Tangled,” constructed from laser-cut PVC, evokes an overgrown habitat whose fauna have been forced to the outskirts. Michael Ryan (Brooklyn) sources a class photograph for his wall-sized, mixed-media work “Bedford Hills School GR-8F.” Angie Zeilinski (Tuscon) uses thread in black and red as her drawing tool, stitching the tiny, semi-abstract “Up and Over.” And Rachelle Beaudoin (Peterborough, N.H.) offers the humorous video “5-Hour Energy Drawing,” in which she films herself drinking an energy elixir that launches a creative frenzy of drawing.

The show runs Feb. 27 through April 13 in Wheaton’s Beard and Weil Galleries. For a list of participating artists, visit the exhibition website.