Eva Hesse Drawing features some of the artist’s finest drawings alongside a critical selection of sculptures that reflect the artist’s investigations into translating the drawn line into three-dimensional space. By juxtaposing Hesse’s drawings and sculptures, the exhibition presents an exciting revision of the conventional interpretation of the working processes of this groundbreaking artist.
Eva Hesse Drawing begins with early collages, ink washes, and gouaches from 1960 to 1964 that engage many thematic paradoxes, from biomorphic and geometric abstraction to a mix of organic and inorganic forms. In 1964 and 1965, working in semi-rural isolation in Essen, Germany, Hesse produced a series of drawings in which she delineated contours of interconnected tubes and planes with a controlled line that was at once both gestural and mechanical. This new engagement with the line opened a period of growing confidence and independence.
After Hesse’s return to New York in September 1965, Hesse’s work challenged the geometric regularity and rigidity prevalent in art at the time. She explored ideas such as transience, chance, and difference in her “grid” drawings as well as in her “circle” drawings, in which empty circles were drawn with a compass and graded in washes. In the same year Hesse created several stunning reliefs that combined papier-mache, cord, paint, and other materials-a practice that she would later revisit with surprising results.
Eva Hesse Drawing also includes the artist’s “test pieces” (1967-69), a form of three-dimensional sketches in which she experimented with non-traditional media such as latex, rubber, plaster, cheesecloth, aluminum screening, and unfired clay. These works will be exhibited alongside numerous sketches and working notes that offer a unique behind-the-scenes look into the beginnings of some of her most important and well-known sculptures. The exhibition closes with a series of “window drawings,” begun in 1968, which show a strong relationship to the layering effects found in her later latex sculptures.
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