Thread Drawings

Experimental mixed media works on paper merging two core concepts: using thread as a drawing tool and using “failed” screenprints or unfinished painting studies as a starting ground. 23 thread drawings were included in the 2005 group exhibition MAs Select MFAs: Works by students in the MFA Program selected by students in the MA Art History program.

Untitled (thread drawing #001), 2005, screenprint, white out correction fluid and thread on paper, 10 x 12 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #002), 2005, screenprint, ink, paper bag scrap and thread on paper, 10 x 12 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #042), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen, acrylic and thread on paper, 6.6 x 9 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #027), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen and thread on paper, 6.75 x 9 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #006), 2005, graphite, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 8 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #003), 2005, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 8 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #004), 2005, screenprint, pencil, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 5.5 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #005), 2005, screenprint, piece of blue envelope, ink, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 7.5 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #010), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen, Flashe and thread on paper, diptych 1 of 2, 10 x 7 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #011), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen, Flashe and thread on paper, diptych 2 of 2, 10 x 11 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #026), 2005, screenprint, acrylic, ballpoint pen and thread on paper, 5 x 10 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #029), 2005, screenprint, pencil and thread on paper, 8 x13 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #015), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen and thread on paper, 4 x 13 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #016), 2005, screenprint, ink, acrylic and thread on paper, 8.25 x 12.75 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #022), 2005, screenprint, ink, acrylic and thread on paper, 6 x 13 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #019), 2005, screenprint, pencil and thread on paper, 10 x 6 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #024), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen, acrylic and thread on paper, 11 x 10 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #025), 2005, acrylic, pencil and thread on paper, 8 x 5 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #028), 2005, screenprint, ballpoint pen and thread on paper, 13 x 10 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #007), 2005, acrylic, pencil, piece of blue envelope and thread on paper, 10 x 6 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #021), 2005, screenprint, ink, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 9 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #020), 2005, screenprint, ink, acrylic and thread on paper, 10 x 9 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #014), 2005, acrylic and thread on paper, 8 x 8 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #041), 2005, acrylic and thread on paper, 8 x 8 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #009), 2005, acrylic, pencil and thread on paper, 8 x 8 in.

Untitled (thread drawing #012), 2005, screenprint, scrap of green paper and thread on paper, 8 x 8 in.

Installation view of Thread Drawings included in MAs Select MFAs. Hunter College Times Square Gallery. Attached to the wall with sewing pins.

The first exhibition of its kind at Hunter College where graduate Art History students were invited to curate an exhibition of work by graduate students in the MFA program. From the MAs Select MFAs wall label:

Karen McClanahan’s mixed media drawings are intuitive experiments in color, shape and line. With an infinite number of organizational possibilities, McClanahan focuses on formal elements as a way of exploring specific problems intrinsic to composition.

At first glance, McClanahan appears to have achieved a harmonious balance between positive and negative space, as well as intense and muted hues. A closer reading reveals something slightly dysfunctional about these relationships. Like hastily hung wallpaper, lines do not match up properly. There are hints of what the artist calls “decisions made and then rejected.” The results are delicate and precarious abstractions with competing areas of activity and calm. She uses thread as a form of line which she stitches directly into the surface. She regards this technique “as an answer to drawing in a different way,” imbuing the work with a fragile and tactile quality.

– Erin McNally

Exhibition card