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a blog of painting, abstraction, and contemporary art
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An Other Space

Annabel Emson / After Dark / oil on canvas / 2008 / 214 x 244 cm / Wyer Gallery

 Annabel Emson / After Dark / oil on canvas / 2008 / 214 x 244 cm / Wyer Gallery

 Teetering on the edge of abstraction and representation, Emson’s paintings reflect the patterns that arise naturally in the structure of the world around us. However, despite drawing inspiration from both the natural and manmade environment, she does not depict recognizable landscapes in existence somewhere but, working intuitively and spontaneously from memory, alludes to some less tangible or fleeting place or space, rooted in memory perhaps but which has become something other, independent, self-determining and lawless.

Her paintings seem to reflect a joy taken in the physicality of painting as well as paint’s material possibilities. She plays with juxtaposition of colour, its temperature, intensity and emotional pitch; the manner and form of the application of paint and the part played by rhythm and sound, both in the process of painting itself and the form and structure of visual composition. This experimentation with the language and application of paint has lead to an ostensibly disparate note in a collection of canvases that differ in scale and style and where abstract works containing broad, energetic or gestural brushwork sit alongside others in which more considered figurative ideas have worked their way in alongside layers of abstraction to suggest a narrative or something more descriptive.

However diverse at times, the works are linked to each other by an index of recurring motifs and images, referencing and building upon each other as part of an extended conversation. Reduced to their core, these are paintings about their process and each work a consequence of a new question that is understood most fully in its relation to its counterparts.{Read More…}

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November 19, 2008   No Comments

Susan Schwalb

Music of Silence IV, 24 x 24 in., 2007, silverpoint, acrylic on wood
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.

Excerpt from Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Feminist Art Base: Susan Schwalb

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...]


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April 10, 2008   1 Comment