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The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice by John Maeda, Mara Hermano, Rosanne Somerson

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Conversation: Drawing

Patricia C. Phillips

How does drawing — a ubiquitous form of rendering images and ideas — serve and perform in twenty-first century art and design practice? Patricia C. Phillips, Dean of Graduate Studies, gathered five RISD faculty members — Silvia Acosta, Professor, Architecture; Cas Holman, Assistant Professor, Industrial Design; Daniel Lefcourt, Assistant Professor, Foundation Studies; Andrew Raftery, Professor, Printmaking; and Kevin Zucker, Associate Professor, Painting — to seek their perspectives on drawing in the world at large, in their disciplines, and in their teaching. Drawing emerged as experimental, iterative, and improvisatory, and the conversation, in turn, took surprising directions — dipping into chance and discovery, subversive teaching, and developing what Lefcourt calls an “ethics of making.”

 

Drawing has a long history of representation that seeks to imitate through close observation and carefully contrived symbolic systems of lines and marks rendered objectively. Drawing also often elaborates on reality and happens intuitively. While the unfolding of the process itself can invite both analytical and abstract interpretation, for hundreds of years, drawings were expected and assumed to be a representation or interpretation of some thing, person, or place — “the miraculous conjuring of images from thin air.”1 But in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, drawing has become a subject and process of exponentially expanding exploration, ...

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