“The thing I like about drawings is that they can float. You don’t think about gravity.”

Alison Wilding RA is best known for her multimedia sculptures, admired internationally for their unexpected interplay between material, form, and space. What is less well known is her drawing practice, which has developed parallel to her sculpture practice across a career spanning over four decades. Sculptors’ drawings are often marked by powerful forms that echo or accompany their sculptures in metal, stone, or wood. Wilding’s drawings are unique in how they revel in the freedom and pleasure of the ink, paint, and collage on paper, rather than fight with the limitations created by flatness, fragility, and scale. Her drawings are not weighed down by the laws of the physical world, and Wilding uses them to explore what objects cannot achieve. They are not drawings for sculpture; they are from another place entirely.

Wilding’s drawings and sculpture have in common imaginativeness and inscrutability. Wilding has often said that with her work ‘what you see is what you get’. It would be more accurate to say that what you see is all you get from Wilding: the artist steps back to give each viewer the opportunity to experience the works with minimal backstory or interpretation. Shapes and lines abut each other, pitched in a perfectly balanced battle between hard and soft, empty and full, hidden and obvious. Encountering an Alison Wilding drawing is an invitation to a divination, deriving individual meaning from fugitive forms. For Wilding herself, drawing is an exercise in revelation. She generally works in series, following ideas and forms where they lead her.

By the Mark – and the Line below the Loaf brings together series of drawings from the last 30 years alongside a new monumental drawing made for the exhibition. The exhibition is the most extensive exhibition of Wilding’s drawings in a public gallery to date. It is accompanied by a display of small-scale sculpture, selected by the artist. A catalogue of Wilding’s drawings, ON PAPER, will be published by Ridinghouse in Autumn 2024.

The exhibition is curated by Prerona Prasad, Curator, The Heong Gallery.