With a minimum of means—often just a pencil and paper—artists have created drawings that open infinite worlds to us. They have used the practice of drawing to express their aspirations and anxieties, ask questions, raise concerns, and translate their inner experiences into physical form, whether in 20th-century New York, 18th-century India, or 16th-century Rome. The drawings in Infinity on Paper are prisms through which audiences can reflect upon the numberless outcomes of the creative process and even the nature of representation itself.
This exhibition emerged from the Benton’s AllPaper Seminar, a professional development program designed to introduce graduate students and young professionals from all backgrounds to the field of works on paper. In the seminar, these emerging scholars engaged with the history of drawing and its practitioners, methods, and materials. The AllPaper Fellows were generously allowed access to the exceptional drawing collection of Jack Shear, artist, collector, and executive director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.
That rigorous engagement with drawings in the Shear collection as well as the Benton’s own holdings formed the basis of Infinity on Paper, comprising 70 drawings by more than 50 artists that offer a dynamic exploration of drawing in its various media, methods, and techniques. With its vast scope, the exhibition brings together works on paper by artists from the past and present such as Lee Bontecou, Vija Celmins, Mary Evelyn De Morgan, Gustave Doré, Torkwase Dyson, Maerten van Heemskerck , Jasper Johns, Alice Neel, Edvard Munch, Rita Ponce de León, Kurt Schwitters, Tiepolo, and Francesco Zuccarelli. Their works—at times intimate, at times bombastic—invite visitors to reflect on drawing as a major form of expression and revel in its infinite possibilities.