Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series, City Arts Centre, Market Street

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by Vikki Graves, Arts

Bob Dylan greets you as you step off the escalator on to the second floor of the City Arts Centre. His tartan-clad figure, staring out of a black and white photograph, is a reminder, if you really needed one, of whose work you are there to see.

The Drawn Blank series, painted in 2007, is based on a collection of Dylan’s drawings and sketches produced on tour between 1989 and 1992. And the exhibition feels like a whistle-stop tour through the ever-changing world of life on

[caption id=”attachment_1905” align=”alignright” width=”122” caption=”Bob Dylan - a man of many talents”][/caption]

the road.

We are shown landscapes and views seen from indoors.  From windows and portholes, through open doors and from balconies. These are keenly observed images, vividly captured, but there is a sense that the artist feels it is him who is outside looking in, despite his physical position.

Portraits have been recorded boldly yet fleetingly, almost as though the subjects may not have even known they were being drawn. The collection’s sense of movement is reinforced by printed reproductions in different, and sometimes clashing, colour schemes. With these displayed alongside one another, it as though the artist did not have enough time in one place to decide how to recreate it. You can choose which version of Dylan’s reality suits you best.

The blurb says his work fits into a line somewhere between Impressionism through Matisse, Picasso and Warhol. But there is something awkward about placing Dylan in this series. We look at his drawings and paintings because we want to know what makes the man tick, not because we want to label him as some sort of ‘ist’ within some sort of ‘ism’. Whether we like the exhibition or not, we are there to see Bob Dylan. As the picture at the top of the escalator confirms.

The exhibition runs until the 19th of March and is free!

Have you been to see it?  Post your thoughts below….

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