Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Highbrow fine arts criticism in action: a review of Amy B. Trosino's Drawn Closer

I have posted an Amazon review of Amy B. Trosino's collection of pen and ink drawings, Drawn Closer. For the edification and amusement of the Highbrow community, here is that review:
In her introduction to this intriguing collection of pen and ink drawings, artist Amy B. Trosino describes the eclectic sources from which she draws her inspiration, including "children's book illustration . . . biology and histology." Histology, as I learned after a quick google search, is the microscopic study of the anatomy of animal and plant cells. In this process tissues are selected, sectioned, placed on a slide, stained, and preserved. Playing off this concept, Trosino offers twenty-one groups of drawings, each group consisting of three "histological" sections leading up to the main "tissue" image from which the three sections are taken.

The drawings themselves do bear some resemblance to cell tissues but they are of course more than that. Each is a rich and complex fantasy that in terms of style and subject suggests dreams of evolving personalities, vaguely "complex" social situations, and ambiguous emotional or psychological states. However, whatever allegorical interpretation the viewer seeks to impose on these drawings is intangible. These drawings cleverly elude--quite properly and quite effectively--any precise sense of understanding or definition. It is a testament to Trosino's considerable talent that she can so simply (and apparently effortlessly) create these profound yet ineffable images. Nor in this scheme do the "sections" help the viewer to establish what exactly these images mean. While turning the pages and viewing the three sections that lead to the complete drawing, progressive "revelations" are exposed leading to the final image; but the final underlying meaning remains unresolved.

Whether or not this is Trosino's point, turning through these pages makes for a rewarding and lively experience. At another level, too, the book is delightful--examining the sections in each group and identifying the sections in the final drawing of which they form a part is as aesthetically stimulating and rewarding as it is fun. Drawn Closer is therefore a refreshing adventure in art--an adventure in the practice and the wonder of discovery.

Click here to view the Amazon sales page for Drawn Closer.

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