Various artists, Drawn to the Real, Alan Cristea Gallery, London

This exhibition showcases five contemporary artists who put the medium of drawing at the centre of their practice. Although not their sole means of expression, these artists focus on drawing as the main representative of their vision, using it in a detailed and precise way. They explore issues of documentation, representation, scale and the process of drawing.

Environment and its impact on humanity is something that preoccupies three of the artists’ work. For Miriam de Búrca this takes the form of a series documenting the wildlife and plants that inhabit the grounds of Crom Estate, a former Anglo-Irish estate. Her intricate drawings highlight the persisting divisions in her homeland of Northern Ireland and demonstrate the conscious effort it takes to recall and understand the past and present of a place with such a fractious history.

Richard Forster’s practice is also documentary-based. He presents his drawings in sequence and they explore time, process and a sense of place. For his new work, presented at this exhibition, he revisited the same section of beach over and over to capture the ever-moving tide. The beach has a personal connection with Forster as it is the beach in the place where he was born, in the north-east of England. Landscape is also a central concern in Emma Stibbon’s work. Her drawings often emerge through the reality of walking, often working from observation and from the camera. Her large-scale pieces are created using fragile media such as chalk on blackboard or volcanic ash on paper. This material plays with the nature of her locations, places that are in constant flux or change and are permeated with a sense of drama or scale, demonstrating how the monumental can be fragile. In Drawn to the Real she will show new drawings based on her 2013 visit to Antarctica.

Drama is also prevelant in Marie Harnett’s work. Inspired by cinema, she captures fleeting moments of suspense or beauty. For this exhibition the works are based on the movie American Hustle. Separated from the context of the film that inspired them, the drawings take on an alternative narrative of their own. Jane Dixon, the fifth artist in the show, explores a different take on imagination and invention. Her works reflect an interest in the relationship between the real and the artificial and combine surface rubbings from the real world with pure fantasy. Her collection Model Series investigates the idea of the model as a representation of something which is either an authentic representation of a real thing or the 3D embodiment of an imagined object.

Drawn to the Real, 12 June – 19 July, Alan Cristea Gallery, 31&34 Cork St, London, W1S 3NU,

1. Emma Stibbon Gerdisbraut 10, Heimaey, (2013) Ink, carbon and volcanic ash, 110.5 x 180.5cm © Courtesy of the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery