On view through February 13, 2022, Talent Within: The NCMA Staff Art Exhibition features 24 works by staff members in departments as wide-ranging as security, exhibition design, and programming and in practices as diverse as drawing, photography, and sculpture. Three participating artist-staff members spoke to Circa about their contributions to the show.
I studied drawing, painting, and sculpture at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky; Hunter College and the Art Students League in New York; and the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. My mentor at Hunter, Anthony Panzera, introduced me to the medium of silverpoint after seeing my dedication to the study of drawing masters such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, J.-A.-D. Ingres, and Leonardo da Vinci.
A silverpoint drawing might at first glance seem to be an attempt to capture the likeness of something real, observed. But to an artist using this medium, it’s not the final image that gives the deepest and most rewarding satisfaction. The fascination with silverpoint lies in the obsessive placement of thousands upon thousands of thin, delicate lines of metal, which amass to fill the space.
The finished work becomes a story of the time spent in its creation. The hand of the artist is always visible, but only to the viewer who gets close enough and is patient enough to put themselves in the artist’s place when the drawing was made. There are breaths between the marks. It is a necessarily intimate process. From one silverpoint artist to another, this shared language observed is an exquisite recognition. I’ve felt it in Dürer’s precision and also when standing in the National Gallery of Art trying to absorb the visual language contained in a tiny Leonardo.
Silverpoint has been my medium of choice for about 11 years now. It is rewarding to begin to loosen its constraints into a more experimental integration of other media, such as acrylic paint, charcoal, and black gesso.
In her fascinating art installation featured in Talent Within, artist and NCMA staffer Julia Caston explores the connection between mental health challenges and community.
NCMA collections photographer Chris Ciccone discusses the portrait he has featured in the staff-artist exhibition on view through February 2022.
Artists on staff at the NCMA are featured in Talent Within, the first show of its kind at the Museum. Here they share their inspirations and love of the permanent collection with Circa readers.