Luminous Trace (Metalpoint drawings and paintings, 2016)


"My primary medium for over 40 years has been the Renaissance technique of silverpoint and metalpoint drawing.  Juxtaposing a wide variety of metals (silver, gold, brass, copper, platinum, pewter, bronze and aluminum) I obtain soft shifts of tone and color. Horizontal lines evoke an atmosphere of serenity, and the shimmer of light on the surface, created by the metals, is quite unlike any of the usual effects. Most of the panels in “Luminous Trace” combine metalpoint with unusual colored surfaces (for me) enhancing and changing the color perception of the metals.


I have been working within a square format almost exclusively since 1997. An even grid of narrow horizontal or diagonal lines forms the basic structure and serves as a spatial context for irregular events on the surface.


Most of the works in this show have musical titles, which evolved intuitively. It is not only because I live with a composer and love music, but also because there is a parallel in the fact that music is abstract like my work. My paintings and drawings are always done in series and each work is generally inspired by the piece or pieces created before it. In my last exhibition at Garvey|Simon (in 2013) numerous drawings and paintings used the title of Polyphony, and my new series, entitled Harmonizations, is a simplified version of those works. Harmonizations is made up of 36 squares with one left blank as a metaphor for a new presence or for a mourning of a loss.


Quartet uses as a basis four squares, as in many Polyphony paintings, but instead of layering square on top of square I varied the types of lines (thick vs. thin) in order to add movement to the surface, which also reflects the light.


Diagonal lines divide the picture plane in the series entitled Intermezzo as many different metalpoints are combined with metallic wool pads and graphite; some of these works have a three-dimensional quality as surface events are continued on the sides of the panel.


All the series are a testimony of how the abstract and straight line can create movement and a visual sound, simply through a variety of compositions. What I want the viewer to do when standing in front of my work is to notice all the subtle differences on the surface and to experience the effect of an abstract universe composed of lines and reflections of light."

Susan Schwalb, 2016



Susan Schwalb's work has been exhibited internationally in museum and gallery exhibitions since the 1970s. Her work is in the permanent collection of numerous museums and institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Prints and Drawings, Berlin, Germany; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The British Museum, London, England; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC to name a few.


Susan Schwalb, Silverpoint Drawings The Pythians
28 Jun. 2016
Susan Schwalb on Luminous Trace Femmes Folles
9 May 2016
Luminous Trace by Susan Schwalb Art Daily News
28 Apr. 2016
Interview with Artist Susan Schwalb Fine Art Intelligence
27 Apr. 2016
The Enduring Appeal of Metalpoint Roderick Conway Morris
Forgotten Art in Virtuoso Drawings Fisun Güner
17 Sep. 2015
Susan Schwalb, Artist Les Femmes Folles
29 Oct. 2013
Susan Schwalb, Spatial Polyphonies
3 Oct. 2013
Gallery Hopping on Thursdays Karen Vanegas
3 Oct. 2013
A Gathering Quiet (Catalogue) Christine Temin
25 Jan. 2011
Susan Schwalb, Metalpoint Artist O'Delle Abney
17 Feb. 2013
Point to Line to Plane (Cat. Essay) Lilly Wei
26 Sep. 2006
Susan Schwalb: Luminosity, Light minimal exposition
23 Jan. 2012
Lines of Liminality at Gerald Peters Gerald Peters Gallery
30 Aug. 2013
Susan Schwalb: Interior Voyages Helaine Posner
17 Mar. 2009