Concerning ‘Carbon Traces’

Patrick Kelly

The quality of black in the drawings is dense. It is compacted over time from the meticulous tracing of cut out shapes, used as jigs, as they rotate on the page. The pencil shimmers reflecting and absorbing light. The drawings become a record or fossil of the life and energy on the page. The surface reflects my hand back to me as I draw, like a black mirror showing me the overwhelming labor of this devoted practice. This black portal creates an illusion of space. One often feels it is possible to step through the drawing. It is inviting, this darkness, for contemplation associated with reflecting pools. And if the viewer is careful it is possible to discover the process for creating the drawings, the scale of which comes crashing upon the viewer offering a glimpse of the patience and devotion needed. These works have always aimed to be deceptively simple in regards to the materials. But the result is complex and alters preconceived notions about the material. I am compelled to use graphite because of its rich tradition and unique characteristics. The blackness of graphite compares to nothing else with its glinting light and seductive shadows.

Carbon Trace 5, pencil on paper, 70”x48”, 2010

Carbon Trace 8, pencil on paper, 30”x22, 2011

Carbon Trace 11, pencil on paper, 30”x22”, 2012