Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Drawn Blank Series – striking new book of Dylan paintings

Bob Dylan - The Drawn Blank Series is the official catalogue of the exhibition of Dylan paintings currently showing in Chemnitz, Germany.

But it’s rather more than that: it’s a sumptuous coffee table hardback collection of 170 striking watercolour/gouache paintings Dylan recently worked up from drawings originally sketched between 1989 and 1992.

The book is a beautiful, colourful artefact. Dylan’s artwork – interiors, urban landscapes, men, women - grabs your attention and demands careful scrutiny. The paintings, in the Expressionist style, would be arresting even if they didn’t carry Dylan’s signature. As you’d expect from its artist, the work is observant, witty and worldly-wise. The surprise is that it’s also technically accomplished – it never fails to evoke an emotional response.

I bought my cherished copy of Bob Dylan - The Drawn Blank Series from The Book Depository, England, via Amazon Marketplace, for £27.37p, delivered – a very competitive price. They still had stock when I checked, but if/when they run out, abebooks.co.uk lists other suppliers with stock. Be careful to order the correct edition – there is a German-, as well as an English-language version.
The Chemnitz gallery also has it for sale, but Dylan Daily emails to two officials, offering to review the catalogue, were ignored, so I can’t recommend that route.

Aficionados need this strikingly handsome artefact – it’s one of the Dylan highlights of recent years: far more important than that new film that’s getting all the media attention.

Details: Bob Dylan - The Drawn Blank Series, edited by Ingrid Mossinger. Munich, Prestel, large format hardback, 29 Nov 2007, 288pp.

Gerry Smith