Tight Ass: Labor Intensive Drawing and Realism

curated by Brett Reichman

February 27 – April 10, 2016
Artist Reception: Saturday, February 27, 2016, 3 – 6 p.m.

Realism… the mere word is enough to send shivers down many a curatorial spine. If art is to manifest from its own era, then isn’t a practice rooted in the hand-drawn retrogressive, counter to technology-based virtual realities and the elimination of the artist’s hand in contemporary art production?” —Brett Reichman

CB1 Gallery is pleased to present Tight Ass: Labor Intensive Drawing and Realism, a group exhibition curated by Brett Reichman featuring 14 artists working in diverse approaches that contest the assumption that realism is incompatible with a critical engagement in contemporary culture.

The labor-intensive commitment with the hand drawn image is twofold: a serious deliberation with the subject and a personal obsession that causes anxiety. Both create an emotional impact on the viewer, necessitating an equivalent time-based immersion that runs counter to the premise that realism is essentially superficial and populist.

The exhibition features work by:

DL Alvarez
Tom Betthauser
Kira Nam Greene
Jacob Kincheloe
Katharine Kuharic
Peter Mitchell-Dayton
Dane Patterson
Eric Petitti
Sarah Ratchye
Daniel Samaniego
Josephine Taylor
Ileana Tejada
Katherine Vetne
Scott Welsh

Drawing by hand is a signifier for identity and the human condition whether executed through the rendering of the body itself, the objects we desire, or the environments we either create or destroy. These detail-oriented approaches emphasize individualized aesthetics within realism, however all the artists in Tight Ass are analyzing sociopolitical stress through recognition of the fracture between naturalism and realism and by locating imagery within incongruous coordinates.

There’s a performative side to labor-intensive drawing that employs a rigorous process over time. Technical achievement is often a goal, but virtuosity is not a safety net. Within the drawing performance timeline are many risks (can you say carpal tunnel syndrome?) associated with spending an exhaustive amount of time on something that could potentially fail. This endurance-based work ethic is not a resurgent academicism but rather evidence of the eternal relevance of the individual hand in art of which drawing is the foundational core.

Repetition and the nature of eroticism is a pervasive subtext in Tight Ass. Don’t expect these artists to loosen up anytime soon.


Eric Petitti, "The Fall of the Great Southern Flotilla Natori," 2014 (detail)

Eric Petitti, The Fall of the Great Southern Flotilla Natori, 2014 (detail), graphite and sumi ink on paper, 22″ x 30″

Pin It on Pinterest