When we are children, we all draw. I drew as a child probably for two reasons. One was that I was engaged visually in the way some things looked, and I drew the things I liked and loved. The other reason was loneliness. The vulnerability that a child feels can provoke empowerment through drawing by capturing the things visually loved. Drawing is not just expressing a visual mode or a well-articulated visual response; it is deeply connected to a natural impulse. When I am drawing, I am aware of both a conscious and unconscious processes. The most difficult thing is to first abandon what a drawing should be (a complex conception or representational copy). Begin with an emotive response. It could be motivated by something as simple as a twist of hair against a bony clavicle or the comfortable or uncomfortable psychological space between two people. Second, provide form to that initial response. Here begins the strategy or conception. The trick is not to allow the concept to become rigid, but instead to remain flexible through the activity and allow a visual journey of selectivity and change through the drawing. Drawing from life is an accumulation of subtle events made evident on a page. Unlike photography, drawing is not instantaneous but a multitude of sequential responses over time. A drawing can provide the viewer with a relic of compounded experiences that remains alive to the eye.
On November 21, 2013, Forum Gallery opens Steven Assael: New Drawings, an exhibition of twenty-four portraits and nudes. Through February 1, 2014.
Steven Assael, Ruth, 2011. Graphite on paper. 20 x 12 1/2 in.
Steven Assael, Bride with Cards, 2012. Graphite and crayon on paper, 14 x 11 in.
Steven Assael, Samantha Twice, 2008. Graphite and crayon on paper, 20 1/2 x 12 1/4 in.
Steven Assael, Sal, 2009. Graphite and crayon on paper, 14 x 11 1/4 in.
Steven Assael, Maryam, undated. Graphite and crayon on paper, 16 x 14 in.