There's something immediately nostalgic about Charles Kanwischer's graphite drawings. When I first saw them I immediately felt like I was looking at an old black and white snapshot. But in a way, his simple drawings are far better than snapshots because in his work you know there's intent behind the banality of his subject matter and the objects he depicts.
|US 24 Road Project – Support Columns by Charles Kanwischer, 2010,
graphite on panel, 11 3/4 x 15 3/4.
What would be a bad, throwaway photo of a construction site of a highway or a newly built house sitting on a grassless plot becomes a drawing loaded with meaning in the hands of Kanwischer. Thoughts arise about the contradictions of progress as well as how even the most utilitarian forms can appear monumental in the hands of the right artist. Essentially, any "snapshot" can turn into an image worthy of interest if an artist presents it in the right way.
|Untitled (Maumee River) by Charles Kanwischer, 2006, graphite on panel, 11 x 15.|
But it is also really good to note that while any bungler can take a bad snapshot, not everyone can turn one into a quality drawing. That is what separates Kanwischer. It's obvious he knows how to draw all the basic forms any student learns to render, and he does use graphite, which is one of the most humble drawing materials available, but he ends up creating works that have such an eloquent design and almost romantic patina, despite their being in black and white.
|Unfinished Road by Charles Kanwischer, 2010, graphite on panel, 11 3/4 x 15 3/4.|
I feel like we are in an artistic moment right now with drawing that embodies the best of the past and the present in art while showing us where the possibilities for the future lie. Kanwischer is part of that continuum, and the best resource to find his work and the work of others who reflect this momentum is in Drawing magazine. It shows unusual and interesting drawing art from contemporary draftsmen, classical drawing lessons from established instructors, and drawing ideas that evolve the practice forward. And you'll get to see more of Kanwischer's work in the first issue you get with your Drawing subscription. Enjoy!