Susan Schwalb uses the classical Renaissance technique of silverpoint and
metalpoint in a way which challenges the traditional concepts. Her work is
abstract and her handling of the medium has become increasingly bold.
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
By contrast, the paintings focus on color and the silverpoint drawing becomes
more of an element of structure; in these works on wood panels, drawing and
painting are fused. Susan applies several layers of paint, using different colors,
after which she draws with the metalpoint. Then erases part of the surface with
sandpaper to expose the paint underneath. Often she adds 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.
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; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the National Museum of
Women in the Arts, Washington, DC.