Critics’ Picks

David Musgrave, Television Drawing no. 4, 2005, graphite on paper, 13 x 9 3/4".

David Musgrave, Television Drawing no. 4, 2005, graphite on paper, 13 x 9 3/4".

London

David Musgrave

greengrassi
1a Kempsford Road
November 30, 2006–January 13, 2007

David Musgrave’s quietly contemplative graphite drawings of twigs, tape, and pieces of twine settled among televisual static and dust are a deliberate retreat from the wild speed and vibrancy that define the urban landscape. Musgrave’s hermetic tendency grants elevated status to the oft-forgotten states of construction and transmission; the sometimes-lengthy artistic process, private and reverently observant, can be as important as the final, public artwork. In his work, ephemeral elements become beautifully finished objects, especially in the case of the show’s single bronze sculpture, a spindly tree branch titled Stick Figure (Evening), 2006. The drawings for “Television Series,” 2005–2006, are clean and precise, the varied weight of each line combining to yield the exact shape and contours of crumpled pieces of packing tape or knotted thread. A tangible emptiness haunts Musgrave’s fastidious marks. Two larger drawings, entitled Large Plane and Plane with suspended animal, both 2006, investigate the back of a stretched canvas. Each tangled, sticky label and ragged edge of cloth achieves a voluminous shape, but, tellingly, the image on the other side remains ignored.