Chemically speaking, anthracite lies halfway between ordinary bituminous coal and the graphite found in pencils. It has high carbon content, few impurities, and a dense blackness that can be polished to a sheen. As if that were not enough to make it a compelling artistic focus for Andrea Krupp, the world’s largest known deposits lie in northeastern Pennsylvania, her home state. What she takes anthracite for is both material and subject: shaping it into witty sculptures like “I am all bog,” its titular message muddily painted on a dark iPad screen, whose ostensible power source is the shiny chunk of coal to which it is connected by USB cable. The carefully carved “Room and pillar mine” features a hollowed-out strata of open caves, turning a block of anthracite into a miniature architectural wonder. A series of works on paper feature deep black pigment derived from anthracite and text-image musings on the “gap between self and coal,” which, when understood through “biolithic time,” proves far narrower than expected.
—Lori Waxman 10/14/2023 1:01 PM