Any idea what metalpoint is? To be fair, it hasn’t been a particularly popular drawing and writing technique for the last four hundred years, but it saw its heyday in throughout the 14th and 15th centuries and is getting a small revival now at the Garvey Simon Art Access on West 27th Street in Chelsea, a small gallery that opened the first ever metalpoint survey in New York, “Metalpoint Now!” in concurrence with a similar exhibit at the Washington D.C. National Gallery of Art.
Technically speaking, metalpoint, or silverpoint, as it is sometimes called, is the act of dragging a thin stylus made of a soft metal (gold, silver, sometimes lead) across a paper surface usually treated with a primer or a substrate that would react with the metal. The marks made would oxidize in the air and darken. The art form is known for its finesse, often looking like pencil drawings, yet are one of the most permanent forms of writing and drawing that exist, able to hold for centuries. Most of the best known works of metalpoint date back to the Renaissance.
Some of the artists surveyed in the Garvey Simon exhibit include Robyn Ellenbogan, Jonathan Hammer, and Marietta Hofer. Styles ranged from classical portraits to abstracts, all using the same technique. The exhibit’s versatility is immediately apparent in this way.
The exhibit will be open until July 11 and is part of a similar showcase, “Musing Metallic” at the Curator Gallery on West 23rd Street.
Next, read about Yayoi Kusama’s Latest Show at David Zwirner, “Give Me Love.” Get in touch with the author @jinwoochong.