The Line Unleashed: Drawing Escapes The Picture Plane

Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:54am EST

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The Line Unleashed: Drawing Escapes The Picture Plane

Opens Feb. 19 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

PR Newswire

SHEBOYGAN, Wis., Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Commissioned installations by five artists free the drawn line from the picture plane in The Line Unleashed, part of The Drawing Season series of exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wis.

Opening Feb. 19, The Line Unleashed brings together site-specific works by Dave Eppley (NY), Anna Hepler (ME), Caroline Lathan-Stiefel (PA), Rita MacDonald (NY) and Heeseop Yoon (NY). Each explores the possibilities of the drawn line as an independent means of expression, an unconstrained element capable of communicating a wide range of concepts from the terrestrial to the cerebral.

Massive in size, remarkable in materials, and innovative in methods, these installations confound expectations of what drawing is and infuse new, dynamic energy into the practice of this traditional artistic process.

In Eppley's Loom, bold lines stray from an organizing panel into surrounding spaces, seemingly intent on escaping the ultimate container of lines in art: the gallery. The artist uses brightly colored signage vinyl to explore the building's less glamorous features, taking viewers on a lively visual journey in which the line challenges them to reconsider space.

Hepler  used found plastic sheeting and tape to create Collapse, a structure that slowly appears to, inhale and exhale. She describes the installation as both a sculptural diagram and a spatial drawing. Deflated, the work presents a linear chaos that transforms to sublime geometry when full inflation is achieved.

In Climbing Acanthus, Lathan-Stiefel references the Mediterranean plant masterfully carved and presented on Greek Corinthian columns. Offering something antithetical to such chiseled perfection, the artist opts for the process of "deskilling," consciously rejecting the goal of technical mastery in the creation of a seemingly organic form.

MacDonald examines the nature of line and movement on a large scale in Heap. This work presents a massive, wall-size enlargement of striped fabric. The line, a neutral and straightforward signifier of formal control and order, visually crumples into a heap when even the notion of a physical interruption is introduced.

The ability of line to agitate between realism and abstraction is explored in Yoon's Still-life #12.  Working from photographs, Yoon draws her subject matter freehand, retaining the mistakes and the corrections. The multiple lines, made uniform by the application of one-quarter-inch black tape, result in a visually kinetic effect that blurs the reality of the drawn image.

On view through September 9, The Line Unleashed anchors The Drawing Season series. Other exhibitions in the series take a different tack, demonstrating how artists drawing in traditional modes are powerfully addressing contemporary concerns and sensibilities.

A Chill in the Air, running through April 29, offers viewers massive landscapes depicting epic tales of peril, adaptation, and survival in works of graphite on paper by Chris Hipkiss and Robyn O'Neil. Artist Timothy Wehrle presents a complex vision of contemporary interpersonal relations through the layered and detailed drawings in I Don't Understand You and I Never Will, which closes April 29. Laylah Ali's spare works comprising Note Drawings, on view through April 1, confront the global pandemic of violence and complacency.

Later this year, The Drawing Season will offer two additional exhibitions. Quiet Accord, featuring the works of Paul Chiappe and Peggy Preheim, opens April 8 and runs through July 8. Both artists create powerful drawings on scale so small they must be viewed through a magnifying glass to properly appreciate the incredible detail. Carol Prusa's scintillating acrylic domes, embellished with detailed drawings done in the ancient technique of silverpoint, will be on view May 6 through August 26 in Optic Nerve.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, located at 608 New York Ave., Sheboygan, Wis., is open seven days a week. Admission is by voluntary donation. For more information about exhibitions and other programs, call (920) 458-6144 or visit


Established in 1967, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a nationally acclaimed visual and performing arts complex in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Arts Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to innovative explorations in contemporary American art. Its exhibitions focus on a wide range of art forms, with particular emphasis on sculpture, photography, craft-related forms, new genres, installation works, ongoing folk traditions, and the work of self-taught artists. The performing arts emphasize dance, music, and theatre performances from around the world. Programming also includes a renowned Arts/Industry residency program, the Connecting Communities commissioning program, classes, and special events. With the completion of an expansion in 1999, the 100,000-sq-ft. Arts Center now comprises 12 galleries, an intimate theatre, a flexible interdisciplinary performance space, studio-classrooms, meeting spaces, the ARTspace shop, and the ARTcafe. The Arts Center also has two adjunct sites: The James Tellen Woodland Sculpture Garden in Black River and ARTspace, an exhibition space and shop in the Shops at Woodlake in the Village of Kohler. Both ARTspace shops and the Arts Center are fully accessible to those with disabilities. A wheelchair is available at the Arts Center. Call 920-458-6144 for additional information, or visit the Arts Center's website,  

Arts Center Hours

Cafe Hours

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays

10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.    


10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays

10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.    

Also Tues. and Thurs.                  

5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays

10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.     

Before evening performances   

5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

SOURCE John Michael Kohler Arts Center

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