A Luminous Line: Forty Years of Metalpoint by Susan Schwalb

Currents #3, 2018, 18 x 18 inches, aluminumpoint, aluminum brush and wool pad,colored gesso on Arches hot press watercolor paper

Currents #5, 2018, 18 x 18 inches, aluminumpoint, aluminum brush and wool pad, colored gesso on Arches hot press watercolor paper

 Harmonizations #15, 2017, 18 x 18 in, silver/gold/brass/copper/aluminum/platinumpoint, black gesso on paper.

Polyphony XIII, 2016, 24 x 24 x 2 in, copper/silver/goldpoint, black gesso on paper on wood.

Convergence VIII, 2017, 16x16x1.75, copper/silverpoint, ivory gesso on paper on wood panel

Poetry of the Square III, 2018, 24x24x2in, silver/gold/copperpoint, purple gesso on wood panel

Susan Schwalb recently had a retrospective of her metalpoint drawings at the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR. Read her interview with Expanded.

EXDP: What brought you to silverpoint?

SS: It was an accidental chance encounter. I was doing pen and ink drawings and while visiting artists in the Hamptons. I was invited to make a mark in silverpoint. Then I decided to buy tools and taught myself.

EXDP: Was Agnes Martin an influence?

SS: I didn’t understand Agnes Martin’s work until I went to a retrospective around 1996. I started to do more reductive works and then I went to her show at PACE Gallery and then I got it. I came out of an Abstract Expressionist background and I didn’t understand minimalism when I started working.

I love the work of Joan Mitchell and the younger artist Marietta Hoferer. In the mid 1990’s Wynn Kramarsky bought my work for his collection. I began to understand the sensibility; a distinctly reductive sensibility.

EXDP: Can you describe your process on a work like Current?

SS: My process depends on the piece. I work in series. The first piece is the hardest. I make sketches. Once the first one is done then the rest follow.

EXDP: Can you talk about the depth seen in your work.  Is it a conscious decision to try and achieve it or more of a byproduct of your process?

SS: The depth, it just happened in the work as I begin the Polyphony Series. I am trying for it now as it seems natural to the work

EXDP: How does it feel to have a retrospective?

SS: The retrospective was overwhelming. I looked and choose works and framed them with the curator. It wasn’t the same as seeing the work in the museum. It was overwhelming.  I thought I would cry but I didn’t. 

See the link to the final edit of the video made about Schwalb's retrospective, A Luminous Line: Forty Years of Metalpoint Drawing by Susan Schwalb, at the Arkansas Art Center: https://youtu.be/vxLb9q22VkE.

Here is the link to the museum website with another link to the video and more about the show: https://www.arkansasartscenter.org/susan-schwalb

For a copy of the catalogue, download.http://www.susanschwalb.com/pages/catalogs.html