Thanks to his indelible music and his “voice of a generation” status, people will parse anything Bob Dylan does for meaning. One researcher famously went through his garbage. Of course, some things beyond the music are worth paying attention to. Fans are eagerly awaiting the sequel to Dylan’s 2004 book “Chronicles: Volume One.”
Now, they can get new insight into his creativity through “The Drawn Blank Series,” an exhibition of his art on display at The Ross Art Group in midtown. The drawings and sketches were made while Dylan was on the road between 1989 and 1992.
amNewYork spoke with curator Mickey Ross.
How were these artworks selected?
They are a top-tier selection of Drawn Blank [artworks] that have never been seen before. These specific works were held back for inaugural shows in the USA.
With the exception of the album “Oh Mercy,” 1988-92 is not considered one of Dylan’s most creative periods. Why did you decide to show art from this era?
There is absolutely no correlation between the music and the artwork. None. Moreover, we are showcasing a totally new interpretation of drawings from that period that have been completely rethought, reworked and reinvigorated.
How do these drawings add to your understanding of his music during that time?
There is no relation. Bob’s music is his music. Bob’s art is his art. There is no overlap whatsoever in his mind.
Can you tell us about some of the paintings on display?
Bob Dylan feels that each of his paintings is to be interpreted by the viewer. He has never given any specific descriptions for his images and wants each one to have separate and distinct meaning for each viewer.
“Train Tracks” is the iconic image symbolizing Bob Dylan’s journey both personally and professionally. He is still on the road well over 100 days per year. Other images are to be taken as elements of his travels to destinations around the globe. The “Man on the Bridge” piece is a personal favorite that has neither a beginning nor an end. It is about the journey.
‘The Drawn Blank Series’ by Bob Dylan is open now at The Ross Art Group, 532 Madison Ave., 212-223-1525. Reception Thursday, May 8 from 5 – 8 p.m.