Tag Archives: Graphite and process

Feral Wood

Feral Wood, 2015 - Oil and Graphite on Panel - Michaela Harlow   Feral Wood, 2015, Oil and Graphite on Wood Panel, 16″ x 16″

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the materials and how they influence process. Take the nature of graphite, for example. Dark, greasy, earthy and metallic, graphite is working its way into everything I make. More inclined toward fingers, oil sticks, palette knives and rags than brushes, for me, painting and drawing are inexorably linked. Using graphite in combination with oil paint is something I’ve rarely done —at least until recently. But it seems the material is driving a different way of going about the process. I like it.

Where is this graphite obsession coming from? On my recent visit to The Whitney, I became fascinated by the powerful presence of graphite. Michelle Stuart’s piece, ‘#28 Moray Hill’, 1974 —a scroll-like drawing on muslin-mounted paper which incorporates graphite, earth and rocks— appears almost etched on smooth lead. Leaning against the adjacent wall, Richard Serra’s ‘Prop’, 1968, as if in casual by pointed conversation, makes a powerful reply in lead. And then of course there was Chuck Close’s ‘Phil’ and Cy Twombly’s indescribably lyrical ‘Untitled, 1968’; two pieces I snapped with my iPhone and highlighted in a previous post.

 Graphite and oil sticks. Greasy materials flowing  together on a hot September day.

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