January 29, 2021

“Telling Stories” at Toledo Museum of Art @ Hyperallergic

With roots as old as the concept of art itself, it is difficult to imagine the medium of drawing as having much to offer in the way of innovation. But Telling Stories: Resilience and Struggle in Contemporary Narrative Drawing, a three-woman show at the Toledo Museum of Art, showcases the utility of drawing as an expressive medium, as well as the power of these practitioners to find new impact in the form — to stunning effect.

Visitors are ushered into the exhibition through Robyn O’Neil‘s harrowing and surreal landscapes, populated by little men in track suits, squaring off against roiling oceans and barren plains. The precariousness of O’Neil’s human subjects is palpable — in an adjacent gallery, a short animation of one of her drawings shows them dropping from broken cables into dark waves. The tension is excruciating and only amplified by works featuring animals in dense repetition, including fields of snarling dogs and skies dark with ravens.

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