10 Metalpoint Artists Redefine a Traditional Technique in Contemporary Terms

In Celestial Tree (2014), artist duo inscribe a tree on a wood panel , adding gold leaf and Swarovski crystals as textural embellishments. Because gold leaf does not adhere to surfaces without applied moisture, Scherer and Ouporov’s process involves breathing heavily onto the material—an action they describe as giving the “breath of life” to their work.  For Lush Life (2015)  also worked in tondo, creating a confluence of swirls from metal coins, spoons, jewelry, and a stylus. Ellenbogen’s unique process emphasizes gestural movement and tactility and recalls the work of , who the artist assisted in the 1970s.
and focus on articulating linear details in metal. Schwalb draws horizontal lines onto prepared surfaces, making striking pieces that evoke striated and staves of sheet music. As art critic Lilly Wei noted in a catalog for Schwalb’s 2006 show at Winfisky Gallery in Salem, MA, Schwalb’s visual “vocabulary is restricted,” recalling ’s paintings. Hoferer’s monochromatic tape mosaics feature a similarly restrained use of color and rigorous, Martin-esque line compositions.
and ’s works feature abstract, organic shapes that sometimes suggest representative forms. Lin compares her silverpoint on gesso-coated works to “diagrams of invisible magnetic forces or microscopic crystal structures.” Citing spilt pepper and wisps of thread as reference points, the artist draws patterns that can be interpreted broadly. Nichols’s silverpoint works are ghostly rendered in muted colors and blurry details. The subjects are clearly people, but their identities are unspecified—left to the viewer’s imagination.
provides further insight into metalpoint by describing his artistic process: “Drawing is more than copying or preparing for a bigger artwork, it is a manifestation of the mental picture of a subject, as individual as a thumbprint, a single image as complex and crafted as any work of art.” In effect, these artists redefine metalpoint on their own uniquely contemporary terms.

Metalpoint Now!” is on view at Garvey | Simon Art Access in New York, NY from Jun. 11–Jul. 11, 2015.