The exhibit, titled “The Luster of Silver: Contemporary Metalpoint Drawings,” is on loan from the permanent collection of the Evansville Museum.
Co-curated by participating artists Koo Schadler and Jeannine Cook, the project explores a subtle and lesser known but incredibly beautiful drawing technique. The medium referred to as silverpoint is the technique of drawing with a metal stylus. Although it has been used to inscribe surfaces since Classical times, silverpoint — or as it is more generally called "metalpoint" — was expressly employed in drawing from the late 14th century up to the early 17th century and was particularly favored in the Renaissance period in Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. Master artists Raphael, Durer, Holbein, Rembrandt, and Rubens all used silverpoint in drawing studies.
Koo Schadler, co-curator writes, "The ubiquitous pencil (a piece of graphite placed inside a hollow tube of wood) wasn't an option for a Renaissance draftsman — it hadn't been invented yet. Instead most early artists learned to draw using a nib of metal stuck in a stylus. Copper, gold, lead, and other metals were used, but a silver point was the most popular."
Through the concerted efforts of a growing number of contemporary artists, this medium is today enjoying its own Renaissance, as realist artists are finding new ways to explore, refine and make it their own.
There are 19 artists from 11 states and Canada featured in the exhibit that will remain on display through March 1, 2010 during library hours.
The metalpoint drawing exhibit replaces “Aqueous USA” on OVAL’s winter exhibit schedule. The Kentucky Watercolor Society has discontinued the traveling portion of its national exhibit.