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Sam Neer

24″ x 18″


Yves-Olivier Mandereau
Ceramic Artist

Artist Statement
“I am a young draftsman and painter currently living in Ohio. In my work, I try to take an ordinary image, such as the model I drew, and change it in such away that it becomes ethereal and gains a new level of depth. I prefer charcoal because of its range in values and I exploit this heavily in my drawings.  I begin by covering the paper in a dark value of charcoal, and then I pull the shapes and form of the model forward using erasers and white chalk. I find that this method creates the perfect atmosphere for my work.”

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Video Transcript

“I am really loving the atmosphere quality of the blanket that this figure has, as well as just the ghostly texture and mark making that you are achieving, I think it’s really wonderful and it’s really captivating. There’s a pretty nice sense of movement, you know, I as a viewer am able to enter into the piece and kind of move around pretty easily.

However, I will say that the composition is really static and straightforward. I think that if you were to play around with how you crop the piece and where you place the figure, you could really do a lot. Another thing that I ask you to do is to really play around with your darkest darks.

You have some really lovely grays, you are starting to achieve some kind of blacks in the bottom left corner where there’s the fold of the blanket, I wonder what would happen if you to really push the darks and allow that to contrast with the really light lights of the paper that you already have.”

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5 responses on "Sam Neer"

  1. This is such a striking and haunting piece! The expression in the figure perfectly echoes your technique and style for this piece. Real emotion is translated in this piece, and its the harmony of the subject and your hand that make that happen so well!

    The form of the body and its anatomy gets a little lost as the head and hands become hidden by the fabric draped over the shoulder – it looks like the body beneath the cloth is smaller than the rest that is visible. Your atmosphere in this drawing definitely draws to my mind a dream-like world, a haunting existence.

    I’d challenge you to see what it would be like to try a cohesive series: I think making a body of work exploring a theme with this style would be an excellent way to take your work further! I took a peek through your instagram, and I love the rest of your work! This piece is definitely a kind of hallmark for your growth, your work following has a much stronger sense of emotion after! Keep trying to bring the subtlety you display here into your future work and paintings!

  2. You’re clearly very skilled with charcoal and have a really strong technique with drawing! I love the subtle specificity of the the earrings!

    I’m really interested in how this person is being swallowed by this fabric draped around them. So much of their body is left unknown to us. The fabric is almost ephemeral, as the edges seems to be dissolving into space, yet it still has a weight to it. This creates a really interesting, and unnatural environment for me. I’d love for you to engage us more in the top half of the piece, and I think you could do this by pushing the environment further.

    You already have an incredibly striking piece, and I think with a few more details with the environment, you could push it even further!

  3. The expression of this model reminds me of a passage in this book I’m reading called Invisible by Philip Ball. In it he describes the a transition in the acting for Shakespeare’s plays where the ghost is no longer played by a person, but instead the presence of the ghost is left totally to the other actor’s talent at creating a horrified expression. I think this drawing works in the same way. It is almost totally carried by the model’s drooping expression and posture.

    I would love to see more happening towards the top of the drawing. Leaving the area around her shoulders and the top half blank makes it seem as if she’ll float right off the page, or dissolve into it. Maybe this is what you are trying to achieve, but I think it wouldn’t hurt to see her more clearly grounded in space.

    I’d also be interested in seeing you sneak in some identifying marks. A frayed edge of a shawl, a cut, a mole, or a hemmed collar. Your ability to capture expression is far too specific to leave her identity unspecific. Your articulation is beautiful though!

  4. This drawing is incredibly subtle and atmospheric, I love the fact that there are some parts of the drawing that feel very concrete and articulated (like the face and the hand) and then there are other areas, (like the clothing) that seem to fade and dissolve effortlessly into the space.

    Your drawing is so visually striking, but I want to know more about who this person is. The facial expression is somewhat anxious, and the clothing could be interpreted in a number of ways. Is this a cultural garment, or is a person who is simply huddled under a soft blanket?

    I think creating an environment for this person to exist within could be a way for you to communicate more about who this person is. So often I see that artists are reliant on facial expression/the figure to articulate who their figure is, but you can actually learn quite a bit about the person through their environment.

    This would give this figure more purpose, so that I can start to dig into who they are, rather than only admiring their physical appearance. A lovely, elegant drawing, would love to see where you push your work!

  5. Wow – I am instantly drawn to that hand! You have excellent drawing technique. I particularly love your handling of the reflected light in the shadow of that arm, and the delicate highlights on the fingers give a striking naturalism to a drawing that, otherwise, is hauntingly ambiguous.

    I really enjoy the mystery you’ve created by leaving the torso of the figure relatively unresolved – however, there’s something a little off to me about the proportions of the shoulders, in comparison to the size of the head and hand. I also think you could be more bold in this approach… Maybe try rendering that area even less, or more abstractly – leaving the shape of that fabric almost entirely negative space.

    You clearly have great instincts for the “ethereal” atmosphere described in your statement – feel free to follow them to even wilder places!

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