Drawing Now 2024: Unveiling the Pinnacle of Contemporary Paper Art

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Emil Ferris, two ballpoint pen on paper, galeriemartel at Drawing Now 2024 © Pauline Loeb 

The 17th edition of the Drawing Now Art Fair, dedicated to works on paper from the past fifty years, has just concluded. The fair, which hosted 73 galleries from 14 different countries at the Carreau du Temple, exceeded expectations in terms of offerings. A joint ticketing system between the fair and the Salon du Dessin, which has a broad focus on the antique and modern periods, provided a comprehensive view of drawing, now considered a work of art in its own right.

I always enjoy visiting a fair at the Carreau du Temple, where the glass roofs allow for beautiful zenithal lighting. Therefore, I was particularly delighted to wander through the sun-drenched booths of the main section on the ground floor. There were, of course, the regulars of the fair, such as the iconic Galerie Papillon, the high-quality Backslash, Galerie Barbier dedicated to comic art, 193 Gallery for African art, Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou, Galerie Catherine Issert, By Lara Sedbon, and more. At the Galerie Catherine Putman stand, one could see the enigmatic works of Dana Cojbuc, pigment prints and charcoal and dry pastel drawings depicting desolate landscapes with burnt trees.

Dana Cojbuc - Catherine Putam

Dana Cojbuc, pigment prints and charcoal and dry pastel drawing, presented by Galerie Putman at Drawing Now 2024 © Pauline Loeb

Templon presented, among other wonders, a delightful small format by Chiharu Shiota in water-soluble wax enhanced with the red cotton threads that made the artist famous. Galerie Martel also had a very rich and coherent stand, including a diptych by Emil Ferris, entirely made with ballpoint pen, depicting Oedipus and the Sphinx, revisiting the composition of a 1903 painting by François-Émile Ehrmann, kept at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Strasbourg.

Emil Ferris - galeriemartel

Emil Ferris, two ballpoint pen on paper, galeriemartel at Drawing Now 2024 © Pauline Loeb 

But in my opinion, the most accomplished stand was that of Double V. It poetically presented three artists with different but complementary works. The pastels by Pace Taylor, a queer and autistic artist, offered a dive into a masculine universe, tightly framed in red, blue, and green tones, profoundly moving. The small formats by B.D. Craft, light and whimsical, illustrated different pictorial techniques – from acrylic and charcoal to oil pastel. Lastly, the largest wall of the stand displayed the work of Camille Chastang – six watercolors of three different sizes, a lamp, and ceramics, wonderfully enhanced by foliage painted directly on the wall background. Beyond their obvious decorative quality, Camille Chastang’s floral compositions go further by illustrating feminist causes and sexual freedom, topics the artist is highly committed to.

Double V gallery at Drawing Now 2024

Double V gallery’s booth, featuring Camille Chastang and Pace Taylor at Drawing Now 2024 © Gregory Copitet & Double V Gallery 

Insight and Process sectors

Following the animated works that punctuate the staircase landings to the lower level, visitors will discover the Insight and Process sectors. In the Insight section, which presented young artists, solo or in duo, Galerie Analix Forever’s booth stood out for its poignant immersion into Alexandra Jabre’s artistic universe. The displayed work, portraits, silhouettes, “falling bodies” were entirely created for the installation at Drawing Now. The installation, composed of monochromatic scenes celebrating love and human relationships, sometimes tender, sometimes sensual, struck me both for the emotion it conveyed and the choice of medium, watercolor, which, despite its apparent fluidity, requires real commitment from the artist.

Alexandra Jabre - Analix Gallery

Alexandra Jabre presented by Analix Forever at Drawing Now 2024 © Analix Gallery.

Another solo caught my attention, that of Camille Brès at Galerie Ariane C-Y. This young French artist with a naive figurative style draws heavily from her daily life with large areas of bright colors. For a little anecdote, Camille fractured her wrist a few weeks before the fair and created with her left hand, two abstract works in shades of green and a self-portrait depicting her from behind, painting with her right hand in a cast.

Camille Bres at Galerie Ariane C-Y

Galerie Ariane C-Y at Drawing Now 2024, presenting a solo show of Camille Brès © Galerie Ariane C-Y

Art Dealers Interviews

This time, four figurative works. So, I asked Ariane C-Y to introduce me to a work by Camille Brès, depicting the artist’s mother reading a book, the face on the cover replacing that of the reader. At Galerie Eric Mouchet, Léo Marin presented a work full of details, made on cigarette paper by Samuel Trenquier on the theme of the “Robinsonade”. The Paris Director of Galerie C, Tom Masson, showed me a large ballpoint pen format by Robin Wen depicting a woman hiding her face in her hands. Finally, Galerie Younique’s stand featured a humorous solo by Belgian artist Priscilla Beccari, whose director Mathias Bloch showed me a bathroom scene view.

How Much Does It Cost?

I would have happily walked away with that brilliantly ink-drawn boy on tuff stone by Fabien Mérelle, available at the By Lara Sedbon gallery stand, for €7,500. For twice that amount, I could have hung the quite enigmatic drawing by Romain Bernini, presented by the Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, on my living room wall. By removing a small thousand euros, I would have subtracted from the Nathalie Obadia stand this inspiring collage by Nu Barreto. Finally, Galerie Lelong was offering a large gouache on paper by the French artist Marc Desgrandchamps for €9,000.

With 40% new galleries participating while retaining the exhibitors that have made the fair renowned, Drawing Now shows a beautiful diversity. Another wonderful initiative is the 100% female casting of the Drawing Now Prize with Caroline Corbasson (Dilecta), Stéphanie Mansy (Galerie F), Catherine Meurisse (Galerie Barbier), Marine Pagès (Galerie Bernard Jordan), and Tatiana Wolska (Irène Laub). It was the latter who won the prize: an endowment of €5,000, €10,000 in production assistance for a three-month exhibition at the Drawing Lab, and the publication of a monographic catalog.

Tatiana Wolska, Galerie Papillon

Tatiana Wolska © Irene Laub

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | March 21-24, 2024
  • Where? | Paris, France
  • Atmosphere | Casual and sunny
  • Curator’s booth pick | Double V Gallery
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Ariane C-Y
  • Spotlighted Artists | Camille Chastang, Camille Bres, Alexandra Jabre
  • For Whom? | Drawing lovers from all ages

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