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Afterimage V Painting

Susan Schwalb

United States

Painting, Acrylic on Wood

Size: 30 W x 30 H x 2 D in

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About The Artwork

Description: My paintings use the classical Renaissance technique of silverpoint in a way which challenges all the traditional concepts. Most of the contemporary artists who draw with a metal stylus continue the tradition of Leonardo and Drer by using the soft, delicate line for figurative imagery. By contrast, my work is abstract, and my handling of the medium has become increasingly bold. In the wood panels, drawing and painting are fused. I apply layers of paint, usually using several colors, after which I draw with the metalpoint. Then I erase part of the surface with sandpaper to expose the paint. Often I add additional painting and drawing to intensify the layered effect. Light seems to emerge from somewhere in the interior of the p

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Acrylic on Wood

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:30 W x 30 H x 2 D in

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1944 New York City, Susan Schwalb is one of the leading figures in the revival of the ancient technique of metalpoint drawing. She has developed a style which challenges all the traditional concepts. Relatively intimate in scale, these works juxtapose a variety of metals - gold, brass, copper, platinum, pewter, bronze, aluminum and silver - to create soft shifts of tone and color. The shimmer of light on the surface is quite unlike any of the usual effects of metalpoint. Sky, clouds, wind, hail, flood, sunlight, reflection: most of the paintings in this series have a landscape reference. I first began thinking about the horizon line and its implications when I was included in the exhibition At the Edge: The Horizon Line in Contemporary Art curated by Donna Harkavy and Margaret Mathew Berenson at Dorsky Gallery in 2001. Conversations with these curators helped me to understand that any horizontal line that divides a canvas is immediately read as a horizon. In fact, I remembered that whenever I drew in my sketchbook at the Cape or at other beaches I instinctively began with a simple line navigating the page. My last body of paintings was conceived around memories of various kinds of light. In this new work the allusion to landscape is more overt, and landscape inevitably evokes weather. I have used my usual technique of silverpoint drawing combined with acrylic on wood, but in these new paintings I laid down several layers of color before I began the drawing. Then I sanded the surface, not only to make it smoother, but also to allow the underlying colors to emerge, frequently as fragmentary, irregular or ghostly events. In this way the surface is more distressed than in past works: atmospheric effects were very much on my mind. The procedure became even more complex in several triptychs entitled Incident in the Mist which required a second sanding, accompanied by additional silverpoint drawing, to bring out an explosive image that can be read in a variety of ways. There is a wide range of references in this show from the unsettling ambiguity of these triptychs to the calm horizontal lines of the Tundra paintings and the unique four-part piece which I named Quartet because it seemed to me to have a particular musical resonance.

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