Contemporary Art encompasses art produced in the second half of the 20th Century (1960/70) up to the present day. Diverse and eclectic, contemporary art as a whole is distinguished by the very lack of a uniform, organising principle, ideology, or "-ism". Contemporary art is part of a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, nationality and globalisation. (1)
In Katherine Stout's book Contemporary Drawing she writes that a resurgence of interest in the practice of drawing coincided with the rise of conceptual and installation art in the 1960's and 70's. Art made during this period interrogated the materiality and function of art, experimenting with unconventional materials and "new media", challenging and transgressing the conventional limits of painting and sculpture.
Stout writes "In various guises, drawing offered alternative routes for experimentation, partly due to it's association with 'low' art forms such as comics, advertising, graphic art and caricature, as well as it's usage within fields such as architecture and mathematical or systems analysis. Through adopting styles and techniques from these areas, artists were able to forge new territory for their art. By the late 1960's, as they became increasingly motivated by a wish to let the world in rather than continue to develop art that existed within a separate realm, drawing allowed a means of strengthening the gene pool of art by contaminating it. " (2)
Drawing has continued to be an important and integral part of many artists practice, co-existing alongside other art forms and disciplines.
"No longer confined to paper or canvas as its sole support, drawing now belongs as much to the realm of the readymade or found object as it does the mechanical and the digital, placing established notions of the intimate and hand-drawn under productive pressure." (3)
In recent years exhibitions focused purely on drawing have become more visible, with Galleries and Museums recognising drawing as an art form in it's own right, not just as an adjunct to painting, sculpture and other disciplines.
Two great sources for finding out more about contemporary drawing are Drawing Room (London) and The Drawing Center (New York), both of these spaces are dedicated specifically to exploring the medium of drawing.
You can also read the British Museums insightful blog Pushing paper: an introduction to contemporary drawing.
Below are a collection of films and links to artist's whose practice involves drawing or for whom drawing is their sole practice, that show the breadth of styles and approaches found within the field of Contemporary Drawing.