“What can I do with this pencil to justify my presence in this world with such big voices attached to people who [are] doing such important things”. San Francisco artist, Christina Empedocles’s photorealistic drawings whisper their WOW and sock it to you sweetly. Painstakingly rendered with wax pencil, one is immediately hit by their technical mastery. Crumpled movie posters, paper birds, concert tickets and those nostalgic trinkets of bygone naivety are faithfully analyzed and worshiped by a sharpness of study often associated with science. It’s no surprise that she completed a Bachelor degree in both Art and Geology at Oberlin College, Ohio.
This level of immaculate detail is an attempt to gain profound understanding. The pencil prostrates to the profane. Discarded pieces of history, of memory, of intimacy are recorded in their heartbreakingly fragile imperfections. Representations of representations. “[I’m] trying to show that my relationship to nature has become a relationship to the images of nature”.
And this is perhaps where the full force of Empedocle’s subjects take effect. They have that 70’s museum diorama feel. Lonely echoes of the past treated with the same respect as a historical relic. Slightly decayed, decontextualized and contrived, their extinction from the world sighs heavily. Move beyond the initial awe of her mastery and Empedocles reveals her velvet pencil is backed by an iron fist.
See more of Christina’s work here.