Friday, November 24, 2006

A Young Girl

At the Art Institute of Chicago there is a small drawing that one could easily miss on a wall that is unusually crowded in the modern art section of the Institute. It is a pencil drawing of a young face, by Salvador Dali. Around the periphery, the face has an indistinct blurred cast, which gives the face the appearance that it is emerging out of fog. However, one eye is amazingly distinct and sketched with such clarity, that I am immediately riveted by it every time I see it. That sketch is one of the pieces at the Art Institute that I return to see as often as I can - and yet it is not one that appears in the "Essential Guide."

I mention that sketch by Salvador Dali because this drawing by Haley McCalister has some of that same quality of both softness and clarity that I admire so much in a well-rendered pencil drawing. Unfortunately, the scan of the sketch "hardened" the drawing. The original is even more appealing and demonstrates a fine balance of tone, line and contrast.