PRINTMAKING - as a fine art - is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of the monotype, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each piece produced is not a copy but is considered an original, since it is not a reproduction of another work of art, and is technically known as an "impression." Printmaking is chosen for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.
Relief prints are produced by a printmaking process where protruding surface faces of the matrix (printing plate or block) are inked; recessed areas are ink free. Printing the image is therefore a relatively simple matter of inking the face of the matrix and bringing it in firm contact with the paper. A printing-press may not be needed as the back of the paper can be rubbed or pressed by hand with a simple tool such as a brayer or roller.
The matrix in relief printing is classically created by starting with a flat original surface, and then removing (e.g., by carving) away areas intended to print white. The remaining areas of the original surface receive the ink.
Traditional text printing with movable type is also a relief technique. This meant that woodcuts were much easier to use as book illustrations, as they could be printed together with the text. The relief family of techniques includes woodcut, metal-cut, wood engraving, relief etching, linocut, and some types of calligraphy.
Early Chinese woodcut books were hand printed - a labor intense activity.
Woodcuts are made on plank-wood, or side-grain, using gouges, knives, and v-tools. Woodcuts are generally larger than engravings and less detailed than wood engravings. The transfer of the design onto paper is achieved by inking the surface with typographic ink and applying pressure with a press. Most woodcut illustrations are black and white because any additional colors must be applied by using different blocks and that complicates the process. A common alternative is to simply color the woodcut by hand.
"The woodcut technique was used for decorating textiles in China as early as the 5th century AD and by the 15th century it was applied to religious images and playing cards in Europe. The finest exponents of the woodcut in 16th-century Europe were the Germans, Albrect Durer, Hans Holbein and Lucas Cranach."
By the early 19th century woodcuts were largely supplanted in commercial work by the technique of wood engraving and it wasn't till the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century that artists rediscovered woodcutting as a medium of artistic expression. The Japanese, traditional masters of the woodcut, were important forerunners of the woodcut process and influenced many of these western printmakers. Exceptional woodcut artists included many German Expressionists: Ernst Barlach, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Edvard Munch used softwoods and experimented with color on his woodcuts; Paul Gauguin achieved interesting effects by sanding the wood; Franz Masereel created the first 'novel in woodcuts'. The German artist, Kathe Kollwitz, used woodcuts - as well as etchings, lithographs and sculptures - to express her feelings on social injustice of the working class and the horrors of war.
Underside of Tortoise (from: The Encantadas, by Herman Melville). Woodcut, Leonard Baskin, in collaboration with Rico Lebrun, 1963, 16 15/16" x 14 7/8" - printed at Gehenna Press.
"A proof from a collaboration between Rico Lebrun, who did the drawings, and Leonard Baskin, who did the cuttings. From a series of 7 woodcuts to illustrate Herman Melville's "The Encantadas" where he wrote, concerning the Two Sides to a Tortoise: 'Moreover, everyone knows that tortoises as well as turtle are of such a make that if you but put them on their backs you thereby expose their bright sides without the possibility of their recovering themselves, and turning into view the other. But after you have done this, and because you have done this, you should not swear that the tortoise has no dark side. Enjoy the bright, keep it turned up perpetually if you can, but be honest, and don't deny the black. Neither should he who cannot turn the tortoise from its natural position so as to hide the darker and expose his livelier aspect, like a great October pumpkin in the sun, for that cause declare the creature to be one total inky blot'."
Wood Engraving is "known for its small scale and fine line work. An engraving is made by cutting an image into the polished end-grain of a hardwood block" - usually cherry wood, pear, apple or boxwood - "leaving a design on the surface. To take a print from the block, ink is rolled evenly on the surface of the block, paper is placed on top, and pressure is applied with a press, or by rubbing by hand with a burnisher. The cuts that were made into the wood do not receive any ink and come out as white, the surface of the block prints as black, and the image is reversed. The tools that are used to engrave the block resemble those used by a metal engraver." - Beth Krommes
Linocut and Linoleum-cut is a printmaking technique similar to that of the woodcut, the difference being that the image is engraved on linoleum instead of wood. Since linoleum offers an easier surface for working, linocuts offer more precision and a greater variety of effects than woodcuts. Long disparaged by serious artists as not challenging enough, the linocut came into its own after artists like Picasso and Matisse began to work in that technique.
I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings and films are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalized society left in its wake. I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures, and certain endings; an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check and nihilism at bay.
"Walking Man Turning into a Tree," is a dense, dark image of a body that barely fits inside the picture plane. The only things indisputably human about it are its endearingly highbrow legs -they look like they could belong to the eccentric sort of professor who lectures passionately on Kierkegaard then square dances in the evenings. The legs push forward while the torso and head above them morph into craggy tree branches. Similarly craggy trees speckle the horizon in the background, indicating a merging of body and context. The "Walking Man" is about to become just another feature of the landscape.
This linocut makes personhood out to be both idiosyncratic and utterly helpless. . .
(like) reading Susan Sontag saying we “can’t understand, can’t imagine” war’s terrifying violence, or to acknowledge empathy’s frailty. . .
William Kentridge Prints "represents over a third of the output in the medium of printmaking for Kentridge, who works in the tradition of socially and politically engaged artists such as William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, Honore Daumier, and Kathe Kollwitz. Kentridge's work reflects on the human condition, specifically the history of apartheid in his own country and the ways in which our personal and collective histories are intertwined. The work in this exhibition ranges from 1976 to 2004 and includes aquatint, drypoint, engraving, etching, monoprint, linocut, lithograph, and silkscreen techniques, often in combinations. Kentridge's prints are rich in layering and restricted to black and white, with color accents added to selected images. The results are works that are powerful in the stark contrast of image to background in woodcuts and lithographs and subtle in linear and atmosphere with etching or monotypes."
Chiaroscuro Woodcut and Chiaroscuro Wood Engraving a relief print using two or more blocks printed in different colors. . . They were first invented by in Germany in 1508, and in Italy before 1516. In some two-block prints, the 'key block' or 'line block' was printed in black and the tone block or blocks had flat areas of color.
ALBRECHT DURER The Rhinoceros (1515)
"chiaroscuro" woodcut in black line, with blue-green tone block
There are a number of ways to create multi-color images in relief printmaking:
Multi-plate Woodcut Wood blocks, inked in different colors, are printed in succession, one color on top of another, using careful registration. Interesting effects result when colors – either transparent or opaque – overlap one another.
Reduction Woodcut Multicolor reduction woodcuts use only one block, carved away in stages for each subsequent color. The block is cut and used to print the first color; the same block is cut down further (hence the term reduction woodcut) and used to print the second color over the first. The artist continues to cut and print until all colors have been printed. There is, however, no opportunity to go back to the first color, since the wood has already been cut away.
Jigsaw Woodcut The block is cut into pieces which are inked with separate colors, re-assembled, and printed. This creates a multi-color image in one printing, with a white line – the width of the saw cut – separating each color.
White-line Woodcut In white-line woodcut, the artist cuts a line to separate each area of color and applies the color (normally with a brush) to the separate shapes on the block before printing. Since watercolor inks are often used for white-line woodcut, the color can vary considerably within an edition.
Margaret Jordan Patterson (1867-1950) was born in Soerabaija, Java on a ship captained by her father. She grew up in Maine and Boston, where she studied with Herman Dudley Murphy and Charles Herbert Woodbury in Boston, and Arthur Wesley Dow at Pratt Institute, New York. She became the assistant director of drawing in 1909 for Boston public schools and was appointed as director in 1912.
Patterson traveled to Italy and studied with Claudio Castelucho in 1912, and later in Paris. She first studied wood-block printing with Ethel Mars in Paris, where she eventually exhibited with the help of Mars at Galerie Levasque in 1913. In 1915, she exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
Patterson spent her summers traveling. "It may have been the connection with Mars that brought Patterson to Cape Cod in the 1910s - or not. Patterson was perfectly capable of checking out new places on her own. From the river marshes and ocean dunes of eastern Massachusetts to the rocky coast of Monterey, Patterson documented her delight in the colors of land and sea. Curiously, she achieved greater subtlties in her printmaking than in her painting, coaxing a great variety of tones from the rigid medium of the woodblock." - The Blue Lantern.
Patterson became the head of the art department at a girls' school in Wellesley in the fall of 1920 and continued to teach there until retiring in 1940. She spent her summers conducting summer classes in landscape painting at her studio, Horn's Hill, on Monhegan Island, Maine where students worked in oil, gouache, water color and pencil. She died in Boston in 1950 and was buried in the Patterson family plot at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco, Maine.
I begin thinking in terms of the wood; only this way can original creation take place. I am a forerunner in the development of composition into a phase of psychology, by discovering ways of conveying emotions through abstractions. My product is completely creative; entirely divorced from the motive of conveying authors' images.
GEORGE LOCKWOOD (American, 1929-1969) Homage to Redon, 1960s, color wood engraving
ART OF GEORGE LOCKWOOD AT THE LIBRARY
The art of George Lockwood is being shown at the. Helen Bumpufi Gallery of the Duxbury
Free Library from March 1 to March 26.
The death of the artist in 1969 ait the age of 40 cut short a brilliant career in the arts.
Pembroke photographer Daniel Bernstein in an article on Lockwood shortly after the artist's death, characterized him as a "modern Renaissance man" and cited his - superb abilities as lithographer, painter, draftsman, master printer, architect, engineer, mechanic, scholar and educator.
One of his notable contributions was the founding of the Impressions Workshop in Boston, a school of print making and lithography, which he operated until 1968, when he moved to Pembroke.
He has taught at Smith College, Amherst, Massachusetts College Of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been widely shown and is represented in permanent collections of mu seums, libraries, colleges and universities. He has illustrated with woodcuts and engravings two fine art books: "Homage to Redon," with an essay by Odilon Itedon;
and- "16 Poems in Verse and Wood" by Bernard Bockes.
Gay Youse, director of the Helen .Bumpus gallery, says Lockwood was a master craftsman who used many media and his work shows a continuous reaching out for new discovery. The paintings, lithographs and woodcuts being exhibited are on loan from Mrs. George Lockwood.
MICHAEL MAZUR (American, 1935-2009) Summer Wave, 2007, color woodcut
MICHAEL MAZUR (American, 1935-2009) Rain on Water, 2009, color woodcut
ROBERT BROWN: How was (George) Lockwood to work with?
MICHAEL MAZUR: George was both wonderful and horrendous. He was the first artist-printer that I worked with, although I worked with many printers since. An artist-printer is a conflicted person, likely to bring their own taste and concerns to your work, more likely to try and shape and pattern it. There are arguments and disagreements. In the French tradition, the printer will make a quiet technical contribution, rather than an esthetic contribution. George was moody, very moody. . . George would spend endless amounts of time producing a print. He was superb, an enormously inventive printmaker doing things no one else could do. Now his work might look crude, but it had impressive values. Once George carved a printer’s chop. If you look carefully at his chop, this little dragon, this most extraordinary carving. A printer’s chop is a positive/negative on each side of the stamp. Now people do this mechanically, send in a logo and the thing becomes photographically transferred. George carved by hand both the positive and negative of this printer’s chop so it would create this miniature bas relief of this dragon. To any project he would bring some small stupendous thing. After 1966, George wanted to do more work for himself. . . He prematurely died at age 41, massive heart attack. He operated under a great deal of stress. A terrible blow for me in ‘68.
COLOR REDUCTION WOODCUT: "A color reduction woodcut, is simply a relief print, that is carved, inked and printed multiple times. By rolling the ink on to the raised area of the wood, the carved away area remains the color of the paper or earlier ink color(s). The process of “carving, inking and printing” can be repeated again and again as long as an accurate registration process is used to preserve the grain.
To make a woodcut, choose a piece of wood with grain that enhances the design. . . use 5 or 6 colors . . . The paper is dry when printing, which eliminates stretching or shrinking, which can interfere with registration.
. . . Work from the lightest color to the darkest. Often I ink and print the board before any carving to create a background color. I then carve away the area that is to be background color. Next, Ink again and print color 2. Carve away what you want to remain color 2 and print color 3.
Sometimes, a second inking of the same color is necessary to cover the previous inks. Given the number of possible press runs, use a strong paper — I use Somerset. Allow time for drying in between each printing. Using transparent inks or ink base extender can create new colors or a tinted area. I have used mylar masks to do spot inking.
The entire edition must be printed at once since carving destroys the wood incrementally. . ."
Solarplate Relief ". . . a thin plate covered with a light-sensitive emulsion. To create a solarplate relief print, the negative of a drawing or other image is printed on clear acetate, set on top of the plate, and then exposed to light. Light hardens all the uncovered area of the plate (which will subsequently be printed as a relief), but the emulsion is washed out of the negative spaces." WPG
Solarplate - a light sensitized polymer printing plate with steel backing used for intaglio and relief printmaking, developed for artists by Dan Welden in 1971. Processed with UV light and water instead of acid.
Solarplate intaglio - An intaglio impression resulting from the process using a Solarplate matrix for printmaking.
Solarplate relief - A relief impression using the raised portions of a Solarplate matrix for printmaking.
Solar Platinum - This is a name for the original plate material also called polymer KM plates used in the photopolymer industry that yields a high resolution image with UV exposure and water developing.
Relief Etching: William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell published in 1790 could be considered the first 'Graphic' Novels. "Blake's books from the 1790s onwards were both prophetic and apocalyptic like so many of the Graphic Novels of the 1970s and 80s. Blake was also a craftsman and an innovator. He refused to be bound by the then prevailing technique of letterpress printing and then printing the engravings separately, preferring to hand-make the books using his own invention of copper engraving as if it were a woodcut. . ." Samperand
Hyman Bloom (1913-2009) Three Fish Heads, etching, late 1950s Marc Chabot Fine Arts Surface rolled in white ink on dark maroon japan paper,
published by the artist and Marc Chabot in 1991-2
signed in white pencil by the artist and the printer.
Unique impression in this color ink and on this paper.
In intaglio, the recessed areas are the printed areas. The whole matrix is inked, and the ink then wiped away from the surface, so that it remains only in the recesses. Much greater pressure is then needed to force the paper into the channels containing the ink, and a high-pressure press will normally be required. Intaglio techniques include engraving, etching, and drypoint.
The distinguishing feature of intaglio printing is that the ink forming the design is printed from the recessed areas of the plate. Among intaglio techniques are engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, soft-ground etching and crayon-manner etching. Japanese printmakers printing un-inked plates to achieve white-on-white relief designs, a practice (called "golpe en blanco" in Spanish).
Drypoint An engraving method in which the design is scratched directly onto the (usually copper) plate with a sharp pointed instrument. Lines in a drypoint print are characterized by a soft fuzziness caused by ink printed from the burr, or rough metal edge lifted up on each side of the furrow made by the etching tool. Drypoint is most often used in combination with other etching techniques, frequently to insert dark areas in an almost-finished print.
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper, steel, or another metal, or hard fruit woods, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; these images are also called engravings.
Engraving was a historically important method of producing images on paper, both in artistic printmaking, and also for commercial reproductions and illustrations for books and magazines. It has long been replaced by various photographic processes in its commercial applications and, partly because of the difficulty of learning the technique, is much less common in printmaking, where it has been largely replaced by etching and other techniques.
The earliest engravings to make prints can be dated to the fifteenth century. Engravings were usually made on copper plates. . . The engraver would make incisions on the plate using a burin, a small steel rod with a sharpened V-shaped point. The burin would be pushed forward through the metal, cutting a V-shaped groove, the width of the line being dependent on how deeply the burin was pushed into the plate. The curls of copper at the side of the line would then be scraped off. The completed design would consist of a series of incised lines on the copper plate. After warming the plate, printing ink would be applied using a dabber, the ink being worked into the lines of the plate. The ink on the surface area of the plate would then be carefully wiped off with cloths, leaving only ink lying in the engraved lines. Engraving tools The printer would then place the plate face up in an intaglio press, a sheet of dampened paper would be placed on top of it, and cloths placed on top of both so as to even out the pressure when the plate passed through the rollers of the press. . . The plate was then passed between the rollers, the pressure of this forcing the paper into the grooves of the plate and dragging out the ink. The paper would then be hung up to dry and the plate re-inked for a further impression. . .
Etching "a method of making prints from a metal plate, usually copper or zinc, which has been bitten with acid. The plate is first coated with an acid-resistant substance (etching ground or varnish) through which the design is drawn with a sharp tool (burin or other). The acid eats the plate through the exposed lines; the more time the plate is left in the acid, the coarser the lines. When the plate is inked and its surface rubbed clean, and it is covered with paper and passed under a cylindrical press, the ink captured in the lines is transferred to the paper."
The first etching on record was that of the Swiss artist, Urs Graf (c.1485 - c.1528), who printed from iron plates. Albrecht Durer (1460-1528), though a consummate engraver, made only five etchings, and never really dominated the technique. That was left to later artists like the Italian Parmigianino (1503-1540) and, of course, Jacques Callot (1592-1635), Rembrandt (1606-1669), perhaps the greatest etcher of all time... Later adepts of acid etching were Tiepolo, Canaletto and Giovanni-Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) in Italy and, of course, Francisco Goya in Spain. The 19th and early 20th century saw may important etchers: Felix Braquemond (1833-1914), Camille-Jean-Baptiste Corot (1796-1875), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Francis Seymour Haden (English, 1818-1910), Fantin Latour (1836-1904), Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Charles Meryon (1821-1868), Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), James McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920) - including important graphic works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Kathe Kollwitz, Georges Rouault and William Stanley Hayter amount many others.
Jacques Callot (1592-1632) was one of the earliest great creative artists to practice the graphic arts exclusively. His career can be divided into two periods: an Italian period, c. 1609-1621, and a Lorraine period from 1621 until his death. Callot studied the technique of engraving under Phillipe Thomasin in Rome. About 1612 he joined Guilio Parigi in Florence. At that time Medici patronage expended itself almost exclusively on "feste," and both Parigi and Callot were employed by Cosimo II (de Medici) to create visual records of these entertainments. Callots compositions are organized as if they were a stage setting and reduced the figures to a tiny scale, each one being rendered by the fewest possible strokes. This required an extremely fine etching technique. Callot enjoyed a lasting popularity all over Europe. He returned to Nancy after Cosimo's death in 1621. During the Lorraine period Callot illustrated sacred books, made a series of plates of the Apostles, and visited Paris to make animated maps of the sieges of La Rochelle and the Ile de RE. Callot was one of the first etchers to used the technique of repeated biting, and sometimes combined graver work with etching."
Giovanni-Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) was one of the greatest artists in the history of etching and the Vedute genre. As an architect and archaeologist he encouraged the interest in the antiquities in Rome. As most great artists he was not easy to coop with and he followed his own direction. The large formats he used and his technical capability strengthened the intensity of his work. Typical are his blacks, darker then all inks used before."
Charles Méyon (1821-1868), was a French artist, who worked almost entirely in etching, because of his colorblindness. He died in 1868 aged just 47, but his impressive work has influenced numerous artists ever since. One of Méryon's last two Parisian subjects, etched not long before his final readmission to the lunatic asylum at Charenton, Le Ministere de la Marine (Dixriona et Voeux) (1865) is the most bizarre of all of Meryon's images of the French capital. . . The resentment which Meryon harboured towards the Ministry of the Marine became developed into the disordered fantasies of a maniac in this extraordinary etching. The French Admiralty building is shown under attack from bizarre mythological forces seen flying across sky above the Place de la Concorde. Meryon’s original title was, The Ministry of the Marine (Imaginings and Wishes), appears to suggest that this image was purely a depiction of Meryon's desires; however, from Meryon’s own description of his plates, it is clear that he really believed the characters in his etchings to exist and that he depicted them as he saw them in his mind's eye. In truth, this image was the vengeful product of a disturbed mind upon the brink of irretrievable breakdown. - based on information from Campbell Fine Art
La Morgue (The Mortuary, Paris) 1865. This etching is considered to be Meryon's magnum opus, and a 19th Century printmaking icon. Meryon's etched Paris architectural landmarks that were likely to be demolished or moved. The morgue, formerly an abbatoir, built in 1568, was located in the Ile de la Cité, the epicenter of Paris. Subsequently the building was moved. The composition has a contrasts the emotions of the impersonal crowd with the pathos of the mourners. Life and death are mirrored in the light and shadow.
"Freud has called his etchings "drawings on copper"1 and stands the copper plate upright on his easel to work on it. He never uses color in his etchings, and has never produced any other kind of print. When he's satisfied with his plate, he delivers them to a printer, he doesn't do the prints himself.
An etching print is, obviously, the other way around to the plate. So if you were focused on getting a likeness rather than a portrait, you'd have to etch the plate the 'wrong' way around - or look at your subject in a mirror while you did it." - Lucian Freud at the Tate Britian, 2002
"Many people are inclined to look at portraits not for the art in them but to see how they resemble people. This seems to me a profound misunderstanding ... I think a great portrait has to do with the way it is approached ... It's to do with the feeling and individuality and the intensity of the regard and the focus on the specific." - Lucian Freud, quoted in Freud at Work p32-3
". . . you've got to try to paint yourself as another person. With self-portraits 'likeness' becomes a different thing. I have to do what I feel without be an expressionist." - Lucian Freud quoted in Lucian Freud by William Feaver (Tate Publishing, London 2002), p43
JIM DINE (American, b. 1935) The Side View 1986
etching, soft-ground etching, and drypoint
on paper sheet: 47 x 44 5/8"
published by Pace Editions, Inc.
printed by Niels Borch Jenson
Smithsonian American Art Museum
". . . Artists have always been fascinated with skulls, perhaps because of their lineage to art school classes teaching anatomy, or perhaps their deep psychological impact on both mortality and creativity. In the 1880’s, with the looming disenfranchisement of workers which was predicted for the coming 20th century, Van Gogh’s “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette” had equal parts cynicism and humor. A salve to what he and others were feeling in France during the years after the Franco-Prussian defeat and the contemporary industrial revolution. Salvador Dali’s 1951 photographic collaboration with Phillippe Halsman harked both to the spectre of nuclear war and Dali’s preoccupation with the feminine mystique. Jim Dine’s and Andy Warhol’s decade-apart skulls are as anatomical as they are metaphorical in portraying only the irony of colorful happiness amidst the somber subject and heavy years of the late 70’s and early 80’s. . ."
For a Color Etching the artist creates several plates of the same size (sometimes one for each color, sometimes including more than one color on a single plate). Each plate is a puzzle piece of sorts, containing a specific part of the final image. The finished product is achieved when each plate has been etched, inked and printed (after careful registering) onto a single sheet of paper. . .
A la Poupée is a process of printing many colors from a single plate: colors are painted directly onto the plate before printing, giving each impression the appearance of a monoprint with uniquely varied coloring. Belle Epoque artist Manuel Robbe (French, 1872-1936) was an innovator of this process. His "painterly" approach to printmaking, with its echoes of Impressionism, is perfectly suited to the technique.
Resist-ground etching is a technique used in particular by contemporary artist Peter Milton. The artist draws an image on Mylar, then transfers the image to a copper plate that has been treated with a light-sensitive (photo-resist) ground, thus preparing the plate for etching of the image. Creating the drawing independent of the copper plate allows the artist not only to etch images at varying stages of a drawing (and combine those into a "collage" of sorts later), but also to save the original drawing when the process is finished.
Cliche Verre "a Greek phrase meaning 'glass picture.' Cliche Verre is a method of etching on a ground-coated transparent material, or painting and drawing on a transparent surface, such as glass or film and printing the resulting image on a light sensitive paper. Cliche verre was one of the earliest forms of reproducing images before the advent of the camera. During the mid 19th century, French landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot made the cliche verre a popular combination of art and photography."
Aquatint allows the printmaker to achieve a wide range of tonal values. The technique consists of exposing the plate to acid through a layer - or sometimes successive layers - of resin (or sugar in sugar lift). The acid bites the plate only in the spaces between the resin particles, achieving a finely and evenly pitted surface that yields broad areas of tone when the grains are washed off and the plate is inked and printed. A great many tones can be achieved on a single plate by exposing different areas to different acid concentrations or different exposure times. Aquatint techniques are generally used in combination with etching or engraving to achieve linear definition. Francisco Goya used aquatint to great effect in his series of 80 etchings entitled "Los Caprichos." Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro also effectively used aquatint in their prints.
Sugar Lift, also called Sugar Aquatint uses a sugar-ink mixture to draw with pen or pencil on a surface treated with resin. When dry the drawing is covered with a layer of varnish and when dry introduced into a hot-water bath which exposes the drawing in the resin. The plate is then bitten in the acid bath and the resulting print has a soft, painterly look.
WILLIAM KENTRIDGE (South African, b. 1955)
William Kentridge is one of South Africa's pre-eminent artists, internationally acclaimed for his films, drawings, theatre and opera productions. He is also an innovative and prolific printmaker; he studied etching at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, and printmaking has remained central to his work ever since. In the past two and a half decades he has produced more than 400 prints, including etchings, engravings, aquatints, silkscreens, linocuts and lithographs, often experimenting with challenging formats and combinations of techniques. Many of his key themes are explored in his prints and he has said that there have been ‘many projects that have ended up as either a piece of theatre or an animated film which have their origins in printmaking'.
This major exhibition will include 100 prints in all media, from 1988 to the present, with a stress on experimental and serial works. Kentridge has been working on a new series of prints which will be included and shown here for the first time. His distinctive use of light and shadow and silhouettes, his concern with memory and perspective, and his absorption in literary texts, are all strongly in evidence. The prints range in scale from intimate etchings and drypoints to linocuts measuring 2.5 metres high.
A centre-piece will be Portage (2000), an accordion-folded multi-panelled book, 4 metres long, with torn paper silhouetted figures collaged onto unbound pages of the French encyclopedia Le Nouveau Larousse Illustré. The figures, like those in his animated masterpiece, Shadow Procession, flow from left to right, some dancing, some bearing possessions on their backs. They are evocative of the displaced migrant workers in apartheid-era South Africa and the plight of refugees worldwide, but also paradoxically, the exuberant atmosphere of carnival. The procession is one of Kentridge's great themes, ultimately a symbol of humanity's journey through life.
Little Morals (1991), a series of eight Goya-esque etchings with sugar lifts, inspired by Adorno's . It coincided with the seminal series of animated films, 9 Drawings for Projection chronicling South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy, and includes many of the same images.
Ubu Tells the Truth (1996-7), a series of eight etchings with soft ground, aquatint and drypoint. Each print layers the impressions of two separate plates, one showing a figure based on Kentridge himself, drawn realistically with shading, overlaid with a caricature of Alfred Jarry's monstrous dictator 'Ubu Roi', engraved with a crude chalk-like line, representing Ubu's imaginary world. This series of prints gave rise to the theatre production, Ubu and the Truth Commission (1997), in which the chalk drawn figure was projected above the action onstage.
Living Language (1999), a series of experimental drypoint prints on vinyl 33rpm LPs. The circular shape of the record reappears in many subsequent works in the form of rounded bellies and gramophones.
Atlas Procession (2000), continues the circular theme in an etching featuring a curved horizon in which a procession of cut-out figures is marching around a flattened world atlas. Originally projected onto a ceiling, this work was inspired by Goya’s frescos in San Antonio de la Florida, Madrid.
Walking Man and Telephone Lady (both 2000), two life-sized figures in lino-cut, a medium with a strong community-based tradition in South Africa as the cheapest and most accessible form of printmaking.
Zeno at 4 A.M. (2001), a series of nine aquatints and drypoints, is one of several works, including a theatre production of the same name, based on Italo Svevo’s novel Confessions of Zeno. Zeno makes another appearance in Zeno II (2003), series of photogravures where Zeno’s life is portrayed in a scene-by-scene filmic way featuring Kentridge’s abstract imagery of shower heads and pylons, some of which were actually in the play.
William Kentridge: Five Themes opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as museums and galleries in San Franciscol Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem and Moscow, and will travel to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne in 2012. His production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at La Scala in Milan and his presentation of Shostakovich's The Nose at
New York's Metropolitan Opera in Spring 2010, were widely praised. In 2012, William Kentridge premiered a new work at Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany.
According to Otto Nagel, Kollwitz's friend, cataloguer, and biographer, as a result of the success of her The Weaver's Revolt (series of etchings), Kollwitz was appointed to teach Graphics and Nude Studies at the Berlin School for Women. While there she "conceived the idea for another major cycle, The Peasants' Revolt, which would explore the mistreatment of the oppressed, their growing resentment and outrage, their attempts to right the wrongs done them, and their ultimate destruction." Commissioned by the Association for Historical Art, Kollwitz began this new large-size series in 1902 and completed the seven large etchings that make up the series in 1908. The result is one of the most powerful graphic series in the history of Western Art. In addition to the seven etchings in the series, she also executed two additional works, Aufruhr / Revolt (1899) and Inspiration (1905) that existed parallel to the series but were ultimately not included or exhibited with it. We show all nine of these works below, some in several different states.
The 5th sheet in The Peasants' Revolt is Losbruch / Charge. Kollwitz wrote about Charge, "I consider this Peasants' War print to be my best work and I am rather happy about it." Otto Nagel felt that Revolt was "the most powerful print in the whole series" and added "This is indeed a Revolt; it explodes off the page as the peasants surge forth, there is an unmistakeable determination to fight in their haggard faces. The woman in the foreground raises her arms to give the signal. Kathe once told me that she had portrayed herself in this woman. She wanted the signal to attack to come from her." Schlahtfeld / After the battle, sheet 6 of the series, depicts a woman, checking the fallen with a lantern, searching for her loved ones after the battle, touches the face of a dead boy with great tenderness and great grief.
Spaightwood Galleries Käthe Kollwitz by Otto Nagel (1971)
image (top): Die Eltern (The Parents) 1921-23 woodcut
bottom: Selbstbildnis (Self-Portrait), 1923 woodcut
Mezzotint or "black manner" is the technique which, contrary to the other methods in use, works from black to white rather than white to black. This is achieved by laying down a texture on a plate by means of a pointed roulette wheel or a sharp rocker. The burrs thus created trap a large quantity of ink and give a rich black. The mezzotint artist then scrapes away the burr in areas he wants to be grey or white. The process produces soft, subtle gradations and is usually combined with etching or engraving which lend clean-lined definition. Historically the technique has been associated with England, and is often referred to as "the English method."
Sir Frank Short was one of the most important late Victorian exponents of the etching revival. He was both a reproductive and an original printmaker and also a noted teacher, holding the post of head of the engraving school at the Royal College of Art. During the 1920's he produced beautiful atmospheric mezzotints.
Soft Ground or "vernis mou" became popular in the 18th and 19th centuries as a method of drawing or transferring designs and textures directly onto a plate. When used for drawing, a paper is placed on top of a soft sticky ground and then drawn over. The resulting line is broad and soft, sometimes thought to resemble pencil or chalk drawings. When used to capture textures directly the subject (lace, leaves, flowers, etc.) is laid directly on the soft ground and then passed through the etching press with the resulting image being exposed to acid.
"Soft ground etching differs from mainstream etching in that the wax resist rolled over the copper plate to protect it from the acid never sets. Hard ground has to be removed with a fine point or needle and the print is characterised by fine lines; tones are conveyed by a parallel or criss crossing lines (hatching) and depth (controlled by the length of time the plate is bitten).
Soft ground is far closer to the natural action of drawing with a pencil. Thin paper or tissue is laid over the wax ground and the image is drawn with a pencil - the texture of the paper presses into the wax and when it is removed the wax will stick to the paper leaving the drawn lines on the plate exposed to the acid. A limited amount of tonal control can be achieved by the pressure of drawing and this can then be overdrawn and bitten further."
Zintaglio Specular holography - although not a printing process - is a new visual medium that Matt Brand developed as a technology and as an art form. It is a way of drawing three-dimensional scenes by manipulating the way light scintillates off a two-dimensional surface.
Lithograh Lithography "was invented by Senefelder in Germany in 1796; it takes advantage of the repulsion between oil and water to transfer an image from a smooth limestone surface to a sheet of paper. It is considered one of the most authentic means of artistic reproduction as it prints directly the touch of the artist's hand. On the other hand, sheer production numbers detract somewhat from its appeal to collectors, as the method permits practically unlimited editions. The first artists who left their mark on the lithographic tradition were mainly French and go from the early Delacroix and Géricualt to Daumier, Degas, Manet, and especially Odilon Redon.
The advent of color lithography in the mid-19th century saw significant work by Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. The American expatriate, James McNeil Whistler produced some remarkable views of the River Thames in England while his compatriots of the firm of Currier & Ives were papering the United States with their own characteristic lithographs. Other 20th-entury practitioners have been Edvard Munch, the German Expressionists, and the Mexicans José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo."
The dog barking at the moon awakens the cock, the crowing of the cock pecks at the head of the Catalan Farmer resting on the table beside the flask of wine (image above) Original color lithograph, 1952, unknown number (c. 2000 impressions) signed in the stone. Published in Verve 27-28 (1952). One of Miro's most engaging images. Image size: 352x530mm.
Silkscreen or Serigraphy "originated in China and found its way to the West in the 15th century. It's a stencil process based on the porosity of silk (nylon or other fabric...) which allows ink to pass through the areas which are not "stopped" with glue or varnish. One or more layers of ink are applied with a squeegee, each one covering the open areas of succeeding screens until the final composite image is achieved.
Serigraphy took on the status of art in the late 1930's in the United States when a group of artists working with the Federal Art Project experimented with the technique and subsequently formed the National Serigraphic Society to promote its use."
NEW EXHIBIT AT LIBRARY: A group of four and five color seriagraphs and posters by Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corlta) the Bumpus Gallery of the Duxbury Free Library through Feb. 19, 1971.
"Our time is a time of erasing the lines that divided things neatly," Corita has said. Since art should not be separated from daily life, even the commonplace should be beautiful. Signs, billboards, posters, seen everywhere by all of us, are-communicating ideas, feelings, propaganda. Corita has chosen this medium to express her own festive involvement with the world.
There is humor in "Somebody had to break the rules"; affirmation in the simple red, white and blue "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"; sweetness in the lovingly conceived blue/gray joy in "People Like Us - Yes" and a kind of robust hope in the four-panel "Power-up."
Miss Kent's work is in the permanent collections of museums and libraries across the U.S., including the National Gallery in Washington D.C., the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan In New York, The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. . ."
Aidez L'Espagne! (above) is an original color pochoir. Published in 1937 at the height of the Spanish Civil War as a loose insert in Cahier d'art (1937) to draw support for the Republican government, then under attack by Franco (aided by Nazi and Fascist "volunteers"). Printed by Imprimerie moderne, Paris. A beautiful print with the surface texture of a gouache.
"In the late 1920s and 1930s, Miró was exploring Surrealisn as a means of transcending the limits of normal vision. . . (He) experimented with pochoir, etching, lithography, and linocut, creating his first and only linocur in 1938. . . For color, Miró was exploring using the pochoir (stencil), and experimenting with etching in black and white and in color. In his pochoirs, all of the color is brushed on, giving the print the surface of a gouache. This technical experimentation coincided with his involvement in the Surrealist movement and, even more so, the Surrealist vision. It also coincided with the Spanish Civil War (Miró was a Republican Loyalist and hated fascists of all stripes, particularly Franco. . . "
Monotype or Monoprint A technique in which a flat surface of copper, zinc, glass or plexiglas is painted with oil colors or ink and then passed through an etching press. The process permits only one copy; thus "MONO print."
"Monoprints combine using some permanent marks on the plate along with variations of how ink is manipulated in the image. Each print is unique due to the various ways ink was manipulated from monoprint to monoprint." WPG Monoprint
"To create a monotype the artist paints or rolls ink onto a blank plate. The image is created by manipulating ink with various tools (brushes, rags, stencils, etc.) Ink can be layered, color over color, and printed on the same paper in successive passes through the press. Because there are no permanent marks on the plate, it is not possible to create multiples of the image." WPG Monotype
"From 1876 to 1886, Degas often used monotype. For Café-Concert at Les Ambassadeurs, he used a rare process that involves drawing over the monotype with pastel. The black ink of the monotype accentuates the shadowed areas. Degas first presented piece in 1877 at an exhibition of the Impressionist group. The composition places the spectator among the people in the orchestra section in the shadowed foreground. The eye is attracted beyond the musicians to the singer in a red dress, who is strongly illuminated by the footlights. Degas' mastery of scenic effects tied to artificial lighting, an original composition and his virtuosity with pastel reinforce the lively aspect of this scene, which seems to have been drawn on the spot."
"One close look at Degas's Café-Concert Singer was all I really needed to get started," [Michael Mazur] has written. "This tiny explosive image, a spontaneous gift of the artist's spirit, seemed to have been breathed directly on the paper in one magical gesture. A closer look reveals Degas's labor."
MICHAEL MAZUR (Amercian, 1935-2009) Wakeby Day (Trip), 1983
29 3/4" x 60 1/2" (overall)
Triptych lithograph with woodcut and monotype in colors on
three sheets of chine collé and heavy wove paper
edition of 50
"Wakeby Day | Wakeby Night is a virtual encyclopedia of monotype effects. "I've put everything I've learned about monotype into them," [Michael] Mazur said. The mural portrays his well-loved summer retreat on Cape Cod, with its sunflowers and gladioli, jungle of reeds, smooth water, and little islands in the distance, by night and day. But memory is its true subject. The place is remembered over time, a composite memory of many summers, many changes of light and cycles of growth."
Giclee is a neologism (a new word, usage, or expression) coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on IRIS printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to denote high quality printing but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality.
"A giclee is a computerized reproduction technique in which the image and topology are generated from a digital file and printed by a special ink jet printer, using ink, acrylic or oil paints. Giclee printing offers one of the highest degree of accuracy and richness of colour available in any reproduction techniques.
It can be printed on paper or canvas and re-touched by hand with paint etc.Today this is a very popular form of printing or reproducing art work to a high standard. Many artists reproduce their paintings onto paper as signed limited editions, using this method
". . . In answer to the contemporary situation in the arts where accidental effects and severe limitations of line and shape for their own sake is enough, where the old masters have become skeletons in the closet, and involvement with content is either immaterial or in bad taste, students occasionally raise valid and historically probing questions. Whose line surpasses Rembrandt's now? What's wrong with El Greco's shapes or Goya's compositions? Is our time so barren that artists can't get beyond beginnings, remaining forever bogged down in superstructures?
Graphic media because of their inherent ability to produce originals in quantity have attracted artists wishing to communicate to a wide public. The Swain School [of Design, New Bedford, MA, USA] is fortunate in having students whose prints reflect the attitude that today, especially, one's moral consciousness cannot afford the luxury of escape into semantics. Art has not and need not exclude man."
The woodcut used for the
cover of The Liberal Content, issue 8, 1963 was created by Scattergood-Moore. Published for the college community by the Office of College Centers, Unitarian Universalist Association, in cooperation with Student Religious Liberals. Art Director: Richard Kellaway. Scattergood also contributed two etchings, Homage to Roden and Santa Claus, along with other Swain School printmaking students that illustrated the article "A Printmaking Workshop."
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