“Beauty Prompts a Copy of Itself” by Mike Nudelman

Ballpoint pen on paper
10.5 x 12 inches
Price: $500.00

My drawing process is meticulous and meditative. Using ballpoint pen, I methodically build up thin layers of feathery, slightly iridescent marks. The size of small hairs with the occasional inky misfire, these diagonal strokes produce a uniform, yet chromatically complex surface. The images are mined directly from a variety of historical and popular romantic sources, such as the sublime Hudson River School paintings of Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church, the startlingly earnest outer space paintings of astronaut-artists Alan Bean and Alexei Leonov, the escapist, almost psychedelic prints of Wyland and Thomas Kinkade, and the troves of otherworldly imagery easily accessed on the internet.

My drawings are apparitions of these source images, one step further removed, depicting serendipitous phenomena more similar to what you may hazily recall from a dream than from nature. Much like pixels on a screen or Ben-Day Dots on a print, the ballpoint pen strokes are simultaneously a means by which illusion is perceived, and a veil that confounds the viewer’s expectation that anything tangible lies beyond the paper’s facade. It’s this absurd relationship between the effervescent atmospheric perspective and the velvety drawn surface that fascinates me. The more inky and labored a drawing becomes, the more cavernous the landscape appears to be. And conversely, the more spatially captivating the image becomes, the more complex and alluring it’s drawn surface reveals itself to be. Like space and time, object and image become the relative forces at play in these enigmatic artworks.