Marks in Progress
January 15 to April 2, 2022
Clement Yeh
Nathan Skyers
Christine Savage
Drawing is often understood as the preparation for a final work, not a fully realized practice, but over the past 50 years, as contemporary artists continue to explore its possibilities, drawing has been elevated from a supporting role to a primary medium alongside other art forms.

With this theme as the premise, Marks in Progress features work by three Kamloops-based artists who have divergent approaches to drawing. Applying techniques that range from traditional pencil on paper to digital rendering, much of the finished work emerges through preparatory sketches and experimental processes, where a physical artwork is not fully realized until the final stage. The act of drawing is evident in the final work; each artist emphasizes the gesture of lines and marks to capture memory and movement and to infer a narrative or ideas that do not exist exactly as they are drawn.

Christine Savage’s blind contour drawing project began as a means for Savage to resume her art practice after a few years of putting it aside. She began drawing daily with the goal of completing 100 drawings within a few months. The technique of blind contour drawing—where the artist looks at the subject and not the page—allowed Savage to avoid overthinking the process and to draw from photo references or things in her immediate vicinity. This practice then changed for Savage. Following the death of her father, she shifted this daily ritual and began using the practice of contour drawing to process her grief through memory. Working from photographs of her father, herself, and other family members, Savage has focused on creating a series of larger connected drawings that incorporate even more techniques of mark-making while linking various modes of visual expression.

Nathan Skyers is a graphic designer and commercial illustrator who uses pen and pencil on paper along with digital tools. Starting on paper, Skyers begins by drawing small sketches or studies that introduce composition and chiaroscuro (light and dark) as means to explore the details of his subjects. These preparatory drawings are scanned, refined, and reworked digitally until each component reaches completion. They are then digitally stitched together to create a final work that cannot be found in the original pencil sketch. Through this process Skyer explores subjects from everyday life and his surroundings.

Incorporating a myriad of drawing styles and approaches to mark-making, Clement Yeh’s work explores the movements and gestures of a ballet dancer in motion. Yeh’s project is inspired by Norman McLaren’s National Film Board of Canada film, Pas De Deux, 1968, which presents the superimposed movements of two dancers as they move across the screen. The film and Yeh’s response create a visual echo of the dancer’s movements through gestural repetition. Originally conceived as multiple large-scale drawings, Yeh’s project—re-conceived for The Cube space—conveys the movement of the ballet dancer through life-size fluid sketches that unify bodily movements across the wall.

Sharing the ways in which each of the artists approach drawing differently, Marks in Progress also includes sketchbooks and artist reference material to offer insight into the unique development of each project for this exhibition.
Curated by Craig Willms
View images of the exhibition here.

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