Susan York makes magic with graphite; drawings, installations, sculptures and rooms covered in the material amount from this modest drawing ingredient. She takes the flat and makes it fill space, the sculptural and makes it disappear. Forever pushing the boundaries of her chosen material, York is able to make graphite shine, pull in, push away and absorb. She explains, “In developing the graphite forms, sometimes I make 50-100 drawings before I get a shape that is symmetrical but slightly skewed, which has a subtle tension that is sometimes felt more than it is seen. My aim is for you to feel the tension but not necessarily see it.”
In writing about York’s work in the July 2008 issue of Sculpture, Jan Riley wrote, “Nothing is left to chance and nothing is ignored. Her pieces are made powerful by the control she exercises over them. In viewing her work it is clear that you are in the presence of something to be taken seriously . . . One of York’s graphite cubes mounted to the wall (even one as small as 4 x 4 inches), has a preternatural pull, almost as though it has a specific gravity all its own.” York’s previous installations include Center of Gravity (2001-present), a series of site-specific immersive works consisting of rooms completely covered in polished graphite with graphite forms placed on the floor. In describing York’s earlier work in Art in America, Sarah S. King wrote that her “striking body of work and systematic methods . . . adroitly provoke tensions between space and form.” York has also created site sensitive works in galleries; installing graphite sculpture and drawings to create subtle tensions between the sculpted and drawn forms and the physical, architectural space.
York received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI and lives and works in Santa Fe, NM. Her work is represented in the collections of the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NM; the Panza Collection, Lugano, Switzerland; and the Stedelijk Museum, the Netherlands, among others. Recent solo exhibitions include the Galerie Renate Bender, Munich, Germany; James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM; and Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Susan York is a 2007 recipient of a Joan Mitchell fellowship for Painters and Sculptors.