Saturday 8 October 2016

Ward Schumaker / Mbuti Drawings

I quit making fine art in 1965 when the governor of Nebraska threatened me with prosecution for what he deemed my 'pornographic' paintings. I didn't start again until 2001. But during that interval, I was always drawing, always looking. And one of the things that most caught my eye was an advertisement for a show of pygmy drawings, at Linda Einfeld in Chicago,1980.

I tried to buy a piece, but was told I was too late. No pieces left.

Still, the 17 pieces shown in the catalog changed my drawing style. At night, I would spend hours studying the reproductions, then retire and dream about them. I wanted to make lines like the Mbuti.

Later, in the 90's, lavish books were published, providing more examples, and my affection and admiration for the work of the Mbuti increased. Dots and dashes, cross-hatches and zigzags; map-like; edging close to meaning but never arriving (at least, not within my comprehension): to me they seemed the height of elegance. Today, 35 years later, they still do.

Ward Schumaker, 2016

Cover of show catalog Pygmy Drawings
November 7 - December 20, 1980
Linda Einfeld, Chicago, Illinois USA
11 x 8.5 inch (27,95 x 21,6 cm), 16 pages, self-cover

Illustration from Pygmy Drawings
(7th page, although the pages are unnumbered)
15 1/4 x 27 inch (38,7 x 68,6 cm)
(the measurements are printed along with the illustration)

Linda Einfeld Primitive Art to Ward Schumaker
Dec 1980 and July 1981

Ward Schumaker (US)
acrylic on canvas
62 x 42 inch (157,5 x 106,7 cm)

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