The Elsen Drawings document every sculpture pictured in Albert E. Elsen’s Origins of Modern Sculpture: Pioneers and Premises (New York: George Braziller, Inc., 1974).
These drawings represent one in a series of attempts by Laura Davis to grapple with the history of sculpture and her place within it by drawing through significant art historical books about sculpture. This is a double-sided poster reproduces two original graphite drawings (42.5″ x 57″). The poster is enclosed by a removable belly band printed with the following quote:
“I started drawing from the Elsen book after my friend told me that this was the book that ‘taught her about sculpture.’ I always felt outside the mainstream history of sculpture, as a female artist with a background in craft and a strong interest in the decorative arts. Drawing from the book was a way for me to claim the history as my own and to take a really close look at it. The only rule was to draw the entire book, and to be methodical about it: the first drawings I did are from the first pages of the book, and the last drawings–the ones on top–are from the last pages. As the images piled up, the newer stuff naturally started obscuring the older stuff. I’d find myself erasing parts of images and favoring others. I was making the history mine by filtering it through myself and back out. I was creating this new thing from this old thing, which is kind of what I do.” —Laura Davis