David Goldes: Electrified Drawings


Photographs and Drawings

On display in the Great Hall February 9 - April 22, 2013

Electricity is a force of transformation able to produce heat, sound, image, and motion. In the early 19th century British scientist Humphrey Davy discovered that graphite, made solely of carbon atoms, is a conductor. With that fact in mind, I create graphite drawings and then apply high voltage electricity to them. Electricity became my partner; it moves through the drawings and in the process, displays its presence.

In practical terms, powdered graphite and thick pencil lines were used to make the drawings. Simple in structure, the drawings articulate boundaries, paths, loops, and shapes that nonetheless also form a complete electrical circuit. By introducing small razor cuts in the lines or erasures in the fields of graphite the circuits are interrupted, resulting in arcing as electricity jumps across these gaps.

The photographs record the first moments after the power is turned on.

Also on display are the altered drawings themselves.

The work is a collaborative performance pieced together by the marks I have made, the electrical paths I have intended, with electricity’s often unpredictable circuit completing imperatives.

Each drawing reveals a tension and resolution between what is intended and what is beyond my control.

David Goldes
January 2013


David Goldes received a B.A. in Chemistry and Biology from SUNY at Buffalo, an M.A. from Harvard in Molecular Genetics, and an M.F.A. from the Visual Studies Workshop in Photography.

His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago). Yossi Milo Gallery in New York represents his work.

David Goldes is the recipient of multiple fellowships including Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, two Bush Foundation Fellowships, and six McKnight Foundation Fellowships. Since 1986 he has been on the faculty at MCAD in the Media Arts Department. For more information: davidgoldes.com




February 9 - April 22