Finely drawn lines in soft gradations of silver and grey that shimmer on the paper surface forming complex vertical line and grid formations are confronted with shifting patterns that overlay, cross, accelerate or slow down within a composition. Presented together in Convergence, a two-person exhibition with Susan Schwalb (b. 1944, US) and Caroline Kryzecki (b. 1979, Germany), this encounter reveals drawn structures that are abstract-geometric, reduced in language and carefully designed. Based on multi-layered conceptual frameworks, the compositions are not just decorative pattern but question the formal and conceptual qualities of analogue aesthetics, and more generally the medium of drawing by introducing new and unusual materials that challenge or at least irritate our perception. Whilst Schwalb works with metal stylus and silverpoint on gesso, Kryzecki uses exclusively ballpoint pen in its commercially most available colours black, blue, green and red. Despite their systematic and often theoretical origins, the resulting works reveal great sensual qualities in their use of colour and texture, even if each artist’s chosen media and its effect is substantially diverse. The title Convergence, taken from a series of Schwalb’s drawings, brings together two quite different artists from two generations, whose oeuvres span from historic techniques brought into the 21st century to post-digital aesthetics, and allows for a joint reflection.
What unites the works is the reference to their environments: ornamental decorations and musical arrangements, textures and patterns from urban areas and nature phenomena; translated into abstract compositions they result in shifted contexts and realities. Kryzecki’s drawing structures originate – amongst other factors - from a residency she completed in Istanbul and her processing of the multitude of visual impressions she experienced around the city. Repeated architectural elements such as rows of windows, balcony parapets, wall panels, patterned tiles, the fluted surfaces of tree barks and the structures of natural landscapes as well as recurring sound backdrops. The Berlin based artist has developed a complex code system deriving from these repetitive sequences, which forms an infinite variety of arrangements that can be visually overwhelming. A minimum of two layers of identical or similar parallel lines or grids form the basis of each drawing. Set against one another at an angle, with the degree of the angle also changing within certain drawings, the resulting effect of symmetrical designs is partly intended and partly the visualization of a chance process, often generating moiré patterns as if a digital process had gone wrong.
In Schwalb’s case the evolution to abstraction was gradual yet a logical consequence of her confrontation with the very particular medium of silver- and more generally metal point. Schwalb developed the technique from its attribution to classical genres of figurative drawing towards a contemporary form of visual expression. Schwalb’s compositions are often related to music or musical configurations (Polyphony, Harmonization) and natural phenomena (Aurora). Her works aspire to the atmospheric presence of clouds, wind, water and sunlight reflection as well as the sensual experience of musical orchestration. The American artist employs up to 8 different metal point pens to obtain soft shifts in tone and a shimmering luminosity that give her drawings a poetic dimension and an almost sculptural quality.
Schwalb and Kryzecki respond to their environments with a completely abstract language in remarkable ways. Their works are about sensory impressions, which are reinterpreted, about feelings and moments of deception with all their softer and harder, calmer and fiercer undertones.