Gleaming the Canvas: “The Silver Point Drawings of Jason Hugger”

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If you were to venture a guess, as to what these drawings are made of…. you’d say pencil, right? (Graphite, if you’re showin’ off?)

And in truth, you aren’t far off. As graphite is cast into long, thin cylinders, sometimes enclosed in its wood casing for the standard pencil form, the same can be done with silver.

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And then it can be used to create lustrous imagery.

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Like all mediums, it comes with pros and cons, some of which are inextricably linked. Silver adheres to the gessoed paper in very soft layers, which means that it takes hours and hours to build up the surface, to develop darks that are truly, deeply dark. Even a small drawing of 8″ x 10″ can take upwards of 40 hours of drawing time. If there’s a lot of figures and detail, high contrast, the image can take closer to 100 hours. But BECAUSE silver only develops in those soft layers, the artist can attain a wide range of gradients and subtlety that is hard to capture in other mediums. And there’s a particular romance to that softness, to the luminosity harnessed in masterful executions like Jason Hugger’s work at Practical Art this month.

Hugger assembles small curios (shells, vacuum tubes, vertebrae, etc.) into tabletop vignettes that become the locus of his still life silver point drawings. Oftentimes these scenes are nestled into an imagined landscape, reminiscent of Dali’s or Curtis’ in their expanse and desolation. It’s an alien planet or surreal dreamspace, the desert beyond the desert, in these quiet, thoughtful works that entice the viewer with their offerings of meditative space.

A fantastic time to see the work in person is this Friday for our “Share of the Pie: Charity Night!” where delectable pies, crafted by the one and only Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies, are offered up in exchange for donations to the feature charity of the month Soroptimist International and their local chapter. This Friday, May 24th, from 7-9pm!

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