Susan Schwalb — ARTIST






Susan Schwalb Intervals #2 1993, silverpoint, acrylic, gold leaf on masonite  48x80 in At recent exhibit at Yeshiva U Museum Photo by Sari Goodfriend

Susan Schwalb
Intervals #2
1993, silverpoint, acrylic, gold leaf on masonite  48×80 in
At recent exhibit at Yeshiva U Museum
Photo by Sari Goodfriend

 

Interview with artist Susan Schwalb —

1.Who are you and what do you do?
Susan Schwalb. I work in silverpoint and metalpoint on paper and wood panels. I also have been doing prints and artist books.

 

Untitled 2016, 16x16x1.75in Silver and goldpoint on black gesso on panel

Quartet I
2016, 16x16x1.75in
Silver and goldpoint on black gesso on panel

 

2. Why art?
I have always wanted to be an artist. I am not sure why but since my mother was an artist it must have seemed like the perfect thing to do. However, when I was a little older for a while I wanted to be a lawyer like my Dad. I use the classical Renaissance technique of silverpoint and metalpoint in a way which challenges the traditional concepts. My work is abstract and my handling of the medium has become increasingly bold.

3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Since I was 5 years old I wanted to be an artist even though I wasn’t always sure what it entailed. I took lessons starting when I was around 8 and then went to the HS of Music and Art and Carnegie Mellon University.

 

Polyphony XIV 2015, 24x24x2in gold/silverpoint, carmine and yellow gesso on panel

Harmonizations II
2015, 24x24x2in
gold/silverpoint, carmine and yellow gesso on panel

 

Polyphony XIV side view

Harmonizations II
side view

4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
I have worked in metalpoint and silverpoint drawing since 1974. My first group of metalpoint drawings were based on flowers and landscape although somewhat abstracted. For more than 30 years it has been totally abstract and for the past 20 years it has become more and more reductive and minimal. The works on paper juxtapose a wide variety of metals (silver, gold, brass, copper, platinum, pewter, bronze, and aluminum) to obtain soft shifts in tone and color reminiscent of the transparency of watercolor. A shimmering luminosity creates what often appears to be a 3-dimensional undulating surface.

 

“Harmonizations II”  will be in my upcoming solo show at Garvey|Simon Gallery in NYC, entitled “Luminous Trace” from April 28 – June 4, 2016.

5. How do you work and approach your subject?

I try to work everyday. I work in series and one painting leads to another.

6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
I love so many kinds of art from  Abstract Expressionism to contemporary sculpture. Artists who influenced me as a young person were Jackson Pollack, Van Gogh and Monet. I used to sit for hours in front of Pollack’s  “Autumn Rhythm” at the Metropolitan Museum and Monet’s “Water Lilies” at MOMA. I also loved the prints, drawings and pastels of Odilon Redon.  When I was in high school I met the artist Isabel Bishop who was a mentor to me until she died. Other artists who have influenced me are Georgia O’Keeffe (especially her early abstract drawings),  Agnes Martin, Nasreen Mohamedi, and a number of young artists such as Marietta Hoferer. I am a sculpture groupie and follow the work of Ursula von Rydingsvard, Petah Coyne, Martin Puryear and adore the work of Joseph Cornell. I have shown at the Kentler International Drawing Space and been inspired by many of the artists who show there including Carol Prusa, Margaret Neill and others.

7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
There are many wonderful responses to my work but some of the best are when it results in sales, especially from major museums.

 

Polyphony I 2013, 30x30x2in silver/gold/copperpoint, black gesso on panel  (private  collection)

Polyphony I
2013, 30x30x2in
silver/gold/copperpoint, black gesso on panel
(private collection)

 

Polyphony I side view

Polyphony II
24x24x2in
aluminum/gold/copperpoint, black gesso on paper on panel

8. What do you like about your work?
My work is quiet and meditative and takes great patience. I am not a patient person by nature so if I have any it comes from my work. By contrast, when the paintings focus on color then the silverpoint drawing becomes more of an element of structure; in these works on wood panels, drawing and painting are fused. I apply several layers of paint, using different colors, after which I draw with the metalpoint. Then I erase part of the surface with sandpaper to expose the paint underneath. Often I add additional paint and drawing to intensify the layered effect. The paintings seem to float on the wall, and a luminosity begins to emerge from somewhere in the interior, at times creating an aura of reflected light, at times appearing to evoke memories or afterimages.

 

 

9. What advice would you give to other artists?
I have been an artist my whole life. It is a wonderful life but I wouldn’t do it unless you “have to”. One never gets the money or appreciation that you dream of. I have had a very good year of successes but in the end it is all about the work. I am excited about new images and making them and that is all that matters.

 

Polyphony XI 2015, 16x16x1.75in silver /gold/copperpoint, green gesso on panel

Polyphony XI
2015, 16x16x1.75in
silver /gold/copperpoint, green gesso on panel

 

Polyphony XI side view

Polyphony XI
side view

 

 

10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years
As I am over 70 I don’t think about 10 years from now as much as 6 months or a year from now. I just want to keep working, to keep having more ideas and to keep showing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Schwaib

Susan Schwaib

LINKS—

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/susan.schwalb
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susan.schwalb/
Website:  http://www.susanschwalb.com/