Big North Coast

Big North Coast


Laurence Channing

(American, 1942-)


Overall: 101.3 x 202.7 cm (39 7/8 x 79 13/16 in.)

Gift in memory of Eugene and Virginia De Grazia from the staff of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1997.154



The subject of Big North Coast-fishermen and sunbathers clambering over the rocky breakwater at Edgewater Park-is unusual within Channing's oeuvre. The artist usually lingers over more decrepit landscapes of Cleveland-abandoned lots, grimy warehouses, battered guardrails, and shadowy highway overpasses. This work, however, celebrates the urban lakefront, describing glints of light playing across the water's surface and the warm rocks under the noonday sun. The drawing's inky blacks juxtaposed by blinding whites, with a subtle range of grays in between, recall the artist's description of Cleveland as "an essentially monochrome environment." Based on photographs taken during wanderings around Cleveland and its environs, Channing's elegant, monochromatic drawings reveal few traces of the artist's hand. His process is relatively low-tech, but laborious; Channing grinds sticks of French charcoal with a mortar and pestle and then applies the powder to a sheet with rags and piano felt attached to sticks. With simple materials, he creates indelible images of the city.

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