Nice coverage of our show by Blue Greenberg, longtime art critic at the Durham Herald-Sun!
“Seeing the World, One Drawing at a Time: Urban Sketchers,” Ackland Museum Store, corner of Columbia and Franklin streets, Chapel Hill, through Oct. 6. Store hours are Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
On Franklin Street at the Ackland store, there is a lively exhibition of sketches made by professional artists on their trips around the world. They are an active group called Urban Sketchers and, through the magic of the Internet, they have come together to show the things they see in their own cities and places they visit. These are quick, made “in the moment” and the degree of finish varies. Some are carefully drawn, like Eduardo Bajzek’s “Bass Player,” and we feel the warm wood surface of the instrument. Others are like Greg Betza’s quick lines that crisscross into a city plaza, with people and buildings and streets intersecting in the background. Bajzek does architectural illustration and is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Betza is an illustrator, artist and designer and lives in New Jersey.
And then there is Chapel Hill’s Laura Frankstone, who brought the Urban Sketchers project to the Ackland Store. Frankstone’s sketching love, however, is not for local scenes but places far away. Her two images in the show are of the Tuscany countryside, although she writes Paris is her favorite city and the months spent there recently by herself sketching was the “fulfillment of a long-held dream.”
It has to be such a joyful gift to be able to sit in a place, take a pen, pencil or brush and a piece of paper and put down what you see. It is a practice of patience, so much more satisfying than taking a photograph. Even if the time spent is minutes, the hand and eye bring the scene to the brain and it is there long after the moment has passed. “Drawing a city isn’t just capturing it on paper, it’s really about getting to know it, to feel it, to make it your own,” writes Nina Johansson, a Stockholm correspondent.
Urban Sketchers are professional architects, graphic designers, illustrators, educators and traditional painters who live in and travel to cities such as London, Sao Paulo, New York, San Francisco, Chapel Hill, Singapore and Seoul. Their mission is to encourage the artistic and educational value of location drawing and to show others the world, one drawing at the time. The Chapel Hill exhibition showcases 90 art works by 38 of the group’s international contributors. Spanish-born Gabriel Campanario, who now lives in the United States, and is a staff artist for the Seattle Times, organized the group, first as flickr in 2007 and then as the nonprofit Urban Sketchers in 2009.
Blue Greenberg’s column appears each week in Entertainment and More. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing her in c/o The Herald-Sun, P.O. Box 2092, Durham, NC 27702.
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