Over the winter break, the Art Gallery of Ontario launched their Drawing, Je t’aime exhibit. The exhibit features over 100 pieces selected and curated by the AGO’s newly created Print and Drawing Council, which consists of members from the Conservation, Curatorial, and Public Programming & Learning departments. The exhibit features a wide range of pieces from different time periods, cultures, and mediums with a focus on exploring and celebrating the different aspects of drawing. It includes rare pieces from celebrated artists including Joyce Wieland, Edgar Degas, Annie Pootoogook, Henri Matisse, and Jacopo Tintoretto.

Throughout the exhibit, there are blurbs from Print and Drawing Council members highlighting their thoughts on certain pieces and why they were chosen. Photography for personal use and sharing on social media is encouraged, using the hashtag #DrawingAGO.

The exhibit takes its name from Robert Motherwell’s Je t’aime series of drawings, one of which is featured in the exhibit. In the text that accompanies the piece, Brenda Rix, manager of the AGO’s Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Study Centre, says that “Motherwell, a self-admitted Francophile, used this romantic phrase to express his deeply felt passion for art-making.”

The exhibit is split into three parts. The first room explores drawing as a thought process and features sketches on paper that date back as far as around 1638 with Massimo Stanzione’s “St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata”.

The second room explores the emotions that are evoked from sketching the human body, with pieces that concentrate on sketches of live models. In the middle of the room is an interactive element where museum-goers can practice sketching their friends or use a mirror to practice sketching themselves.

The third room explores drawing as a response to the world. It features a larger range of mediums and subjects, including a bronze sculpture by David Smith and drawings on napkins by John Scott.

Other highlights of the exhibit include K. M. Graham’s sketches from 1970 of NASA’s famous Apollo 13 space voyage, and a collection of William Cruikshank’s notebooks donated in 1909 featuring many pages of sketches, artwork, and descriptions of his surroundings.

The exhibit also has a corresponding workshop, titled “Drawing, Je t’aime: Life Drawing in the Galleries”. The class is led by Bogdan Luca, a U of T graduate alumnus and currently a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design. It takes place on Fridays for four weeks, focusing on life drawings, and explores pieces from the exhibit’s collection.

The exhibit will be open until April 3 and is included in the general admission to the museum.

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