The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art on the campus of State Fair Community College will exhibit 12 large-scale drawings from the “Hawser Series: Drawings by Huguette Despault May” from June 21 through Aug. 25.
The group of charcoal drawings, with dimensions up to 75 by 38 inches, takes its name from the python-sized rope, or hawser, used in mooring or towing a ship. May draws a section of a single hawser in great detail, showing its rhythmic braiding and its unraveling into fibrous tendrils. The drawings focus on both the rope’s deterioration from intensive use and the integrity of its remaining structure.
The artist has written, “The drawings are made at the scale of the human body, and have a physicality that evokes muscle, hair and sinew. As surrogate bodies, these ropes are metaphors for the tension, frayed nerves and entanglements that we experience as human beings.”
May began drawing rope as a graduate student at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2006. This series began with the chance discovery of an abandoned ship’s hawser during a visit to the old whaling port of New Bedford, Mass. Each drawing in the Hawser Series derives from that single piece of Korean War-era rope, created by the last master rope maker, John E. Ruggles.
May’s work has been exhibited in the Pastel Society of America Annual Exhibition in New York, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Navio Artisans Collective in New Bedford, Mass.
“Hawser Series: Drawings by Huguette Despault May" is organized through Katharine T. Carter & Associates.
Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free. For more information, call 530-5888 or visit the website at daummuseum.org.