Canvas :: Cameron Robbins at Gallery Barry Keldoulis
April 18th 2011
Nick La Rosa
If you want to know what the future of drawing looks like, go no further than Cameron Robbins’ newest exhibition at Gallery Barry Keldoulis. Walking into this exhibit is like walking into a factory of art. In the centre of the room an electronic drawing device, which reminded me of a Calder mobile crossed with R2D2, is churning out beautifully delicate line drawings at the mere flick of a switch.
Try and picture this: solar-powered rotating drums pull a pen, which is dangling from a string, that is subject to natural breezes. The pen creates squiggles and markings across sheets of paper, that are wrapped around a slowly rotating cylinder. You’d be right in thinking this experiment sounds absurd, but one just has to look at the intricate and organic drawings created by this machine to accept the gifted artistry of Robbins, puppet master in this experiment. For me, the drawings were suggestive of star clusters in distant galaxies cross-hatched with lines from a lie detector test.
It’s hard to imagine, but this is where things get even more interesting – the cylinder that the paper rotates on is moving at about 3 mm p/hr, the equivalent of a lunar month, when the exhibit ends. Time plays an important role for Robbins, whose weeks can literally be counted on the paper by the uneven patterns of the pen’s etchings; the patterns stop drawing during the night when the solar power runs out.
What Robbins has attempted to do here is remove the self-consciousness of drawing, so natural to the artistic human hand. He succeeds in this through the perfect juxtaposition of the machine, influenced by natural elements to create organic drawings that also express and capture moments in time.
Cameron Robbins’ exhibit is both a foreboding portrayal of the future of artistry and a thrilling adventure into the documentation of time. Don’t hesitate to catch it.
What: Cameron Robbins, Lunar/Solar Drawing Machine
Where: Gallery Barry Keldoulis, 285 Young St, Waterloo
When: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm until May 14th, 2011
How much: Free