Image Above: Steven Assael, "Cassandra and Nola", 2015, silverpoint on prepared silver point paper, 11½ x 14 inches
Artists: Steven Assael, Noah Buchanan, Sherry Camhy, Jeannine Cook, Diana Corvelle, Lori Field, Margot Glass, Josh Henderson, Margaret Krug, Helena La Rota López, Tom Mazzullo, Phil Padwe, Lauren Amalia Redding, Ephraim Rubenstein, Koo Schadler, Jos. A Smith, Darryl Babatunde Smith, Costa Vavagiakis, Jenny Walton, Tamia Alston Ward, Lea Wight, Dan Witz, and Zane York
Tamia Alston Ward "Humanity and Life (Adam and Eve)" 2020, silverpoint on mineral paper, 11 x 12 1/8 inches
As the seasons cycle towards year end, the city quickens for one last grand finale and displays a sublime picturesque of half lights, tracery branches and pearlescent skies heralding winter’s approach. We draw your attention to the subtlety of this scene--a nuanced play of light and movement as a gestural expression of archaic longing. Understated, yet meticulous, silverpoint drawings display a comparable hushed beauty.
Darryl Babatunde Smith, “σπαραγμός (ἤ Εἰς Πενθέα), Mangling (or To Pentheus)” 2019, 24-carat goldpoint, silverpoint and egg tempera on hand-gessoed panel 14 x 18 inches
A technique employed by scribes, craftsmen and artists since ancient times, a silverpoint drawing is made by dragging a silver rod or wire across paper, parchment or panel support prepared with gesso or primer. Prized as a media capable of retaining fine details, silverpoint emerged as a favored drawing technique in the late Gothic and early Renaissance era—particularly in the Florentine and Flemish schools. Jan van Eyck, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer and Raphael count among silverpoint’s master practitioners.
Zane York, “Old Wing” Silverpoint on prepared paper, 5 x 7 inches
The increasing availability and versatility of graphite and chalks in the 1500s, which allowed for greater gestural expression while requiring far less preparation and technical acuity, hastened silverpoint's demise. Though some late practitioners, including artists Hendrick Goltzius and Rembrandt, retained the technique through the 17th century, the general trend amongst modern practitioners privileged media, such as natural chalks and charcoal, capable of producing immediate results. By the 18th century, silverpoint was considered obsolete.
Lauren Amalia Redding "Crowns", 2021 Silverpoint, acrylic and ink on hand gessoed paper 14 x 11 inches
In our contemporary artworld, awash as it is with disposable images produced and consumed with speed, the currency of immediate results and brash gestures no longer retains any novel allure or real value. Discreet works, slowly wrought, now appears to be the more radical idea, as does the practice of draughtsmanship.
Dan Witz "Ruth" silverpoint on metal, 9 1/2 x 7 inches
The artists assembled for “Silver” would concur. Silverpoint drawings betray an outré sensibility and a paradoxical pursuit that is both understated yet alert and exacting. Ultimately however, these works evoke a substantive and enduring triumph in a world prone to blunting erasure.
The exhibition is presented in collaboration with New York Artists Equity.