Slowing Down Time: Erin Fostel's Drawings of Light, Shadow, and Space

Slowing Down Time: Erin Fostel’s Drawings of Light, Shadow, and Space

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Every morning, around 8 a.m., the sun yawns across my living room floor. The light never quite looks the same, mutating with each day and each minute, as seasons stretch and clouds pass. The shadows shift too. 

Erin Fostel’s latest body of work, “Shadow Series,” attempts to capture the impossible: both the passage of time, and its pause. Known for her depictions of Baltimore architecture and women’s bedrooms, Fostel’s attention has turned inward this time, toward her own home

Using charcoal and graphite, she documents each divot in the drywall and each groove in the woodgrain. Those details, though, simply offer a backdrop. Fostel is interested—as the series title suggests—in light and shadow, and how those transient elements together create a space. 

In “Bedroom (morning),” dawn light hits an old wooden door. The rough edge of the frame and the precise line of the hinge become apparent if you stare long enough. But the focus of the scene is what lies beyond it—a swirl of leaves and branches on the tree outside, their silhouette cast upon the door, suggesting a slight breeze. Fostel’s drawings are as much about what’s there as what’s not. We see the hint of a fan in “Hallway (afternoon),” but not the fan itself. The steady lines of a banister in “Stairs (morning),” but not the railing. 

 

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