Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature

Spanning the period from the late 1960s to the present day, this exhibition presents the work of an artist who radically combined site-specific earthworks with the medium of drawing. Michelle Stuart has become internationally known for a rich and diverse body of work engendered by her lifelong interest in the natural world and the cosmos. Working in drawing, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and site-specific earthworks, she has pursued a subtle and responsive dialogue with nature, distinct from the epic gestures of contemporaneous Land Art. Her engagement with landscape and the natural environment, her use of unconventional, humble materials, and her passion for archaeology and collecting permeate her work.

Stuart is best known for her early monumental drawings made outdoors, where rolls of paper were smashed with rocks, stroked with earth, or rubbed with graphite until the characteristics of a given site became ingrained in their surfaces. Other works in the exhibition respond to the Nazca Lines and Mexican petroglyphs—pushing our understanding of drawing beyond the page. Included are expansive maps of real and imaginary landscapes form the backdrop to a selection of sculptural works and hand-made books. The exhibition concludes with Stuart’s recent photographic grids, expansive works which encapsulate the potent blend of “real history, imaginative history and natural history” that has characterized her work.

Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature is the first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States since 1998, and only the second to be presented in the west. The exhibition is organized and toured by the Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, UK. It is accompanied by a 160-page hardcover catalogue with essays by Anna Lovatt, Jane McFadden, and Nancy Princenthal; and an interview with the artist by Julie Joyce.

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