Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing

  • Woody Van Amen, Arjuna/Queen Beatrix, 1985.

  • Oswald Oberhuber, Krokodil, 1983. Courtesy Galerie Nachst St. Stephan.

Curated by Peter Frank

“The unifying factors in Line and Image are visual. They intimate and often embody the subject matter that might concern a northern European artist, as argued above, but they by no means bespeak a common subject matter among the artists. The exhibition’s points of cohesion boil down to the simple, empirically distinguishable presence of a certain kind or kinds of lines and almost any kind of image, as long as there is a visual intricacy in the interaction of that line and image. Non-objective drawings, no matter how line-filled, are bot applicable to this concept, nor are drawings whose technical treatment is too painterly (too dependent on chiaroscuro or a featherly stroke), or too simple (too starkly geometrical, naturalistic, or otherwise visually rudimentary). In effect, the artists here all speak the same visual language. They inflict it in differing dialects, their vocabularies are highly individual, even idiosyncratic, and they all convey disparate messages.

…The exhibit’s main purpose, however, is to introduce a North American audience to the current manifestation of a Northern European visual mode, practiced by artists of both genders, varied reputations, all living generations, many nationalities and myriad subjective outlooks. These artists are the world’s most devoted wielders of the drawn line, and they wield that line in the service of a vision that melds fact and fiction, the seen world and the imagined. This rich and engaging contribution to art goes on today as it has for hundreds of years, and we will do well to become familiar with it. Line and Image, it is hoped, will serve as a tantalizing introduction.”

-Peter Frank
Excerpt from Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing catalogue, 1987


Accompanying this exhibition is the catalogue Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing, edited by Peter Frank and published by Independent Curators International (ICI). Please visit our shop for more information.




Peter Frank

Peter Frank is a New York-born, Los Angeles-based art critic and curator. Associate Editor of Fabrik magazine and art critic for the Huffington Post, Frank has served as Editor of THEmagazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, and as art critic for the LA Weekly, Village Voice and SoHo Weekly News. He has organized exhibitions for Documenta in Kassel, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, and New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among other venues, and served as Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum in California. He has written extensively for books and periodicals around the world.  Past ICI curated exhibitions include:  Artists’ Books USA co-curated with Martha Wilson (1978); Mapped Art: Charts, Routes, Regions (1981); Indiana Influence (1984); and Line and Image (1988).


touring schedule

Santa Fe Gallery, Santa Fe Community College
Gainesville, FL, United States
February 4, 1990 - March 18, 1990

Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
April 22, 1989 - April 22, 1989

University of Arizona Museum of Art
Tucson, Arizona, United States
February 22, 1989 - March 29, 1989

Bass Museum of Art
Miami Beach, FL, United States
July 15, 1988 - August 28, 1988

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