2009 by Stephen Harwood
Central St Martins MA Show; http://www.stephenharwood.co.uk
Harwood’s work has the freedom and vitality that arguably only the medium of pencil can give. While paint cements design stationary, pencil glides across the paper. Touching only the very surface texture, lines are open to smudging – changing – feeling out the very cusp of their author’s idea. Harwood’s work is particularly embracing of this liquidity of design; his pictures appear in scribbles, darts, riding on lines that dance across the page. A moody sky is summoned from cascades of pencilled curls, dealt both lightly and harshly; untidy, they are careless but completely articulate in what they aim to portray. The hard lines of distant hills are pencilled in thickly; one can almost feel the determinedly applied pressure of nib to paper in the metallic sheen of sheer graphite. These definite moments appear across the page, angrily contrasting to the soft and rough edged shading. The movement created in these tonally variant squiggles is felt throughout the landscape. Mounting in the sky, it is caught across the fields and in the agitation of the scribbled trees. There is something nostalgic about Harwood’s Lyth Hill and it is not only carried by the familiarity of a British landscape. His drawing possesses the celebrated naturalism of the Romantics, the pathetic fallacy of projected emotion as these pencilled lines ripple with feeling – felt all the more with this base, childhood provoking, style of drawing.