Merrill Wagner / Large Flower Small Owl / 2006 / Paint on steel / 87.75 x 82.25″ / sundharamtagore.com
I checked out this show this past week. I wasn’t familiar with Merrill Wagner’s work, but I loved how she painted with the steel. It’s interesting, Richard Serra’s work makes you really feel the presence and the weight of the steel, whereas with Merrill’s work I found myself enchanted with the surface, the rust, the marks left by the heat of forging, etc. There was a delicacy and lightness about the steel.
Wagner’s oeuvre explores the possibility of steel and slate as a painterly surface. Wagner begins with found materials, either die-cut scraps of steel, or pieces of slate, and transforms them into abstract landscapes or flowers. She imbues the surface with an unexpected softness yet still maintains an architectural form. Painted directly from nature, her forms allude less overtly to geometry than to a structural topography. Her assemblages are suspended by magnets giving them a floating quality. Her innovative utilization of the dichotomy between the softness of the pigments and her subject and the rigidity of her surface has earned her the acclaim of the art world.
Merrill Wagner @ Sundharam Tagore, 547 West 27th Street, through 10/15Tags: steel, metropolitan museum of art, new york fine art gallery, pop art paintings, landscape art, Paint
October 6, 2008 No Comments
Music of Silence IV / 24” x 24” / 2007 / silverpoint / acrylic on wood / © Susan Schwalb. All Rights Reserved. www.susanschwalb.com
I have always been attracted to the mystery and luminosity in silverpoint drawings. I have experiemented with silverpoint and find the technique fascinating – from the delicacy of touch to the tarnishing. Schwalb’s work is the first I have seen where it used in abstraction and in combination with color. I find Schwalb’s work and Agnes Martin’s to be some of the best examples of minimalism.
Tags: gold, Paper, acrylic paint, silverpoint, contemporary art, minimalism
Susan Schwalb is one of the foremost figures in the revival of the ancient technique of silverpoint drawing in America. Most of the contemporary artists who draw with a metal stylus continue the tradition of Leonardo and Durer by using the soft, delicate line for figurative imagery. By contrast, Schwalb’s work is resolutely abstract, and her handling of the technique is extremely innovative. Paper is torn and burned to provide an emotionally free and dramatic contrast to the precise linearity of silverpoint. In other works, silverpoint is combined with flat expanses of acrylic paint or gold leaf. Sometimes, subtle shifts of tone and color emerge from the juxtaposition of a wide variety of metals. In recent works, Schwalb abandons the stylus altogether in favor of wide metal bands that achieve a shimmering atmosphere reminiscent of the luminous transparency of watercolor. [Read more...]
April 10, 2008 1 Comment