manifest international drawing annual 2007 exhibition-in-print
online resource

John Sabraw
Athens, OH

Ohio University, Associate Professor of Art

page 115

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About the MIKY WAY GALAXY drawing:

It is critical to note that though the idea is mine and I played the role of lead artist, a group of dozens of artists/students, astro-physicists, and others known as the Aspect Collective, worked with me to create this magnificent drawing.

See video of the drawing at the following links:

When exhibited, this drawing is configured to create a room within a room where the sheer size of the drawing immerses the viewer into the space of the galaxy.

It is a drawing made by hand using the reductive method, from Charkole, which is actually a black pastel, on primed mural canvas. In other words, the canvas (actually in two pieces to allow entry and exit) was completely blackened with Charkole and then erased to reveal the stars and dust of the galaxy. When erasing stars we created templates with randomly dispersed holes drilled through sheets of aluminum flashing and placed these against the black Charkole and then erased through the holes. Occasionally we also erased using a cordless drill with an eraser jammed in the chuck.

The drawing took about 12 weeks to complete and used about 2,000 man-hours. It is, as far as our research tells us, the largest drawing of the galaxy ever made, and the largest pastel drawing ever made. It has also been a component of a large installation project titled: SCALE exhibited at the Kennedy Museum in Athens, Ohio during 2007.

Artist's Statement:

I am enthralled with the metaphysical. I am driven by the big questions: Why are we here? How did we get here? Where do we go from here and where do we end up? Simple yet penultimate things to contemplate, particularly in juxtaposition with the quotidian. In fact, what at first glance appears mundane often reveals upon closer examination both order and chaos existing in complex relationships that create a unique sense of the sublime, with endless permutations possible between the macro and the micro.

All my works, whether paintings and drawings, or even collaborative installations, attempt to convey a sense of transcendence that takes place over a period of time. They are about the art of wondering -- about finding oneself in a place of query and reveling in it instead of needing to seek an answer to it, an experience of mystery that supercedes the need for understanding. I carry a high reverence for such experiences, as I find that they elate and humble me at the same time.

Drawing for me is the most immediate and primal vehicle for accessing these states. I always turn to it when I need get back in touch with the artist within.




born: 1968, Lakenheath, England


Pratt Institute, A.S., 1988
University of Kansas, BFA, 1994
Northwestern University, MFA, 1997

selected awards/honors

Award of Excellence, Art at the X, Daniel Brown, Juror, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, 2007
OURC Research Grant, Ohio University, Athens, OH, 2006
Opening Weekend Top 5 Shows, (for Athens Redux), Panel-House, Mary Beyer, Chicago, IL, 2004
Artist of the Month, The Artist's Magazine, January, 2003

selected publications

Review: Alan Artner: In the Galleries, John Sabraw, Harbinger, The Chicago Tribune, p. 16 C, 2008
Article: Dr. Thomas Statler, Art project draws on science ..., The Columbus Dispatch, Metro, 2006
Article: Fred Camper, Outstripping Their influences, Chicago Reader, October, 2004
Article: Joanne Moore, The Glamorous Life, The Artist's Magazine, January, 2003

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Thomas McCormick Gallery: Harbinger, Chicago, IL, 2008
Elmhurst Art Museum: Skin Deep, Elmhurst, IL, 2003
Elliot Smith Contemporary: Fabrication, St. Louis, MO, 2002
Union League Club Gallery: Alta Vista, Chicago, IL, 2000

selected group shows

Kennedy Museum of Art: SCALE, Athens, OH, 2007
Elmhurst Museum: From Concept to Collection, Elmhurst, IL, 2007
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts: The Elusive Landscape, NYC, NY, 2005
Contemporary Museum of Art: Escape From the Vault, Honolulu, HI, 2003

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