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Staff Pick: A Series of Drawings by Abdel Michel

By Ashley Brown

Abdel at work in the studio. 

Rowes Wharf, graphite on paper, 2014 

Pencil poised, eyes frequently darting from drawing to resource material, Abdel Michel is Gateway’s rising star. He may be sitting in the studio at Gateway Arts, but his slightly chewed pencil is taking him into downtown Boston, Forest Hills, and Dudley Square. If you have a question about the MBTA, Abdel is the local guru. His drawings feature T-stations, bus terminals, landmarks, and Boston neighborhoods.

Fenway Park,graphite on paper, 2014

Abdel starts his drawings by mapping out the larger structures immediately creating depth. This foundational outline acts as a road map to Abdel when he is ready to give life to the windows, doors, and trees.  After the initial sketch, he uses a heavier hand to draw in the detail.  He has a natural ability for scale and proportion, so his eraser rarely gets a work out. Abdel’s attention to detail is remarkable.

The Old State House, graphite on paper, 2014

Interestingly, Abdel edits the resource material and removes some of the objects in the photo.  Upon closer look, this series of drawings is missing one key feature for any bustling city. The terminals are silent and picturesque. The busy streets are unusually empty and void of a single person. 

Kenmore Square, graphite on paper, 2014

There is an absence of people and cars in each of Abdel’s drawings. He chooses to draw the constant. Abdel focuses his effort on the stable structures that can’t be easily manipulated in the landscape such as sidewalks, buildings, and trees. The buildings are trustworthy and unchanging, therefore, equally recognizable.

Bunker Hill Monument, graphite on paper, 2014
Maverick Station, graphite on paper, 2014

This body of work is breathtaking when viewed as a series. One drawing may have a congested array of windows and buildings, while another gives the eye breathing room with gestural trees and inches of silence.

Forest Hills Station, graphite on paper, 2014

The drawings above are available for purchase priced at $100 each.  If you are interested please contact Gateway Arts today! 

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