Robbie Karmel

Robbie Karmel completed his PhD at UNSW A+D and returned to Canberra in 2019 to establish Studio Studio in Mitchell with Richard Blackwell. His research and practice explore concepts of mimetic representation, phenomenological embodiment, perception, tool use, and representation through expanded drawing practices, extending into printmaking, sculptural and performative methods.

Working with charcoal, oilstick and graphite on paper or timber surfaces, Karmel maps out the body relying on the intermodal array of senses, challenging dominant opticentric modes of picture making. This work includes the production of studio furniture, apparatus, and tools to facilitate and interrupt solo and collaborative performative drawing processes. Karmel has had solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth and has exhibited and undertaken residencies nationally and internationally.

Drawing Furniture

A Going the Distance Project

Drawing Furniture presents three drawing performances by Robbie Karmel, each framed by a piece of “Drawing Furniture”, a custom-built sculptural object built by Karmel to be drawn (like a model), drawn on as a ground (like paper), drawn on as a surface (like an easel), and drawn with (like a stick in the sand), often while being climbed on, worn, or carried.

Karmel’s drawing practice explores making marks with graphite, charcoal, and oilstick that show the body in form and gesture as it is felt through touch and proprioception as much as it is seen. These works explore practice in isolation, in the case of ladder drawing, and as a collaborative and communal process, in the case of Panel Drawing and Headbox, both of which were first explored before the COVID 19 pandemic, and take on new dimensions with the introduction of social distancing measures, the broader economic and social stresses that the pandemic has brought, and the both universal and highly individualised experiences of isolation, distance and touch.

Project works


1 August, 2020

Panel Drawing

25 July, 2020

Climbing Drawing

18 July, 2020