Sarah Lovitt Chain, 2003, 2007, Tinted wax and graphite, © Sarah Lovitt.

Graphite: Bend It, Shape It, Any Way You Want It

Mark Sheinkman, 4 11 2007, 2007, Oil, alkyd and graphite on canvas, 60 x 66", © Mark Sheinkman.

Christopher Cook, Baroque III, graphite, oil, and resin on coated paper, 2004, (detail).


Salina Art Center
242 S. Santa Fe
Leaded: The Materiality
and Metamorphosis of Graphite

April 3-August 10, 2008

The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite, a visually engaging exhibition, inspires a fresh outlook on this basic artistic material and a new appreciation for its aesthetic versatility..

Leaded features 44 contemporary artworks by 16 international artists who utilize the physical nature and visual characteristics of graphite and pencils as content in their two- and three-dimensional work. While employing a fundamental drawing medium, the art in this exhibition stands outside our general understanding of modern drawing. The role of mark-making is minimized or completely absent from many of the pieces. Likewise, representation is a secondary motivation.

Artists featured in the exhibition include The Art Guys (American), James Busby (American, born 1973), Hsin-Hsi Chen (Taiwanese, born 1969), Christopher Cook (British, born 1959), Meghan Gerety (American, born 1970), Michael Joaquin Grey (American, born 1961), Sarah Lovitt (American, born 1969), Marco Maggi (Uruguayan, born 1957), Stephana McClure (N. Ireland, born 1959), Creighton Michael (American, born 1949), Shimon Okshteyn (American, born in the Ukraine, 1951), Gloria Ortiz-Hernandez (Colombian, born 1943), Mark Sheinkman (American, born 1963), Stephen Sollins (American, born 1967), and Molly Springfield (American, born 1977).

Artworks in the exhibition can be viewed within the following overlapping themes: Graphite as Content, Graphite as Transformative Agent, and Graphite as Sculpture. The first grouping of objects presents work in which the subject matter is seamlessly merged with the graphite medium, as in the primordial “landscapes” made of graphite, oil, and resin on aluminum sheets by Christopher Cook, Mark Sheinkman’s drawings of smoky tendrils created with graphite and eraser and Shimon Okshteyn's laboriously detailed drawings of brushstrokes.
Under the context of Graphite as Transformative Agent, two- and three-dimensional artworks are made of materials that are altered or disguised by using graphite. James Busby manipulates the medium’s metallic quality with thick applications that turn canvas and paper into monolithic objects. Stefana McClure and Stephen Sollins focus on the communicative role of graphite through the obliteration of text and imagery in their works on paper.

Within the Graphite as Sculpture selection, graphite and pencils become sculptural material within a conceptual framework and/or systematic formation. The Art Guys use pencils as literal building blocks in their over six-foot-tall sculpture of a skyscraper, whereas Marco Maggi works with graphite’s materiality in his small scale sculptures utilizing graphite powder, pencil leads and Plexiglas.

Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite was developed by the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, and organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

The Art Guys, Bonded Activity #55 (Skyscraper), 1999, 84" x 36" x 36", Pencils and glue on a plywood base, © The Art Guys.

Creighton Michael, Squiggle linear B407, 2007, Graphite, paper, acrylic, and rope, © Creighton Michael.