What is the power of a line, of ink and graphite sinking into a piece of paper? The simple, gestural figure drawings created by modernist Abraham Walkowitz (American, b. Russia, 1878–1965) of the modern dancer Isadora Duncan (American, 1878–1927) answer this question many times over. A confident black line sweeps across the paper, creating the sensation of movement with its bends and curves, its variations in boldness and width. The line elongates and combines with others, forming a figure clad in a sheer tunic, head raised, arms and legs stretching across the wide expanse, challenging the borders of the page.
Madron Gallery’s Perpetual Motion explores the natural inclination of disparate artists and art forms to intertwine, inspire, and transform one another. Twelve of Walkowitz's original drawings are exhibited alongside a filmed 2016 performance of Varshavianka, a work Duncan choreographed in 1924. The piece was presented by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University Chicago; it was staged and coached by Jennifer Sprowl of Duncan Dance Chicago, who is both a professional dancer and Duncan historian. In keeping with the spirit of 2022 as the #YearofChicagoDance, Sprowl will give a live demonstration and talk on Duncan at Madron Gallery this June. The exact time and date are to be determined.