December 2015

Come Up at Once

Pencil Perfect

At a glance, it would not be foolish to mistake the work of Ed Loftus for found photography. It is photorealistic in detail and often as seemingly casual as a discarded snapshot — fingers curled around a burning cigarette, a fuzzy vacationer posed on a distant outcrop of rock, a badly framed backyard get-together. A second look reveals surrealist cracks in the illusion — a figure inside a mountain cabin is cut away; an unnatural swarm of birds descends on a young girl; shiny Hefty bags of garbage loom outside the windows, like emotional memories. Look deeper still and you realize Loftus’ intricate work is rendered entirely in graphite. It’s astonishing enough without understanding how he works: from top to bottom, like a computer printer, so nothing smudges. Loftus’ meticulous method developed naturally as a channel for his obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it means one small drawing can take many months. This makes seeing new work a very rare treat indeed. "No One and No Where" offers a fresh series featuring the reoccurrence of an archaic diving helmet and a disturbingly tan man.

— Silke Tudor