Saturday, February 13, 2010

Karl Koenig’s “Feast or Famine” feeds art lovers souls

This was another successful opening reception at New Grounds as droves of visitors came to see Karl Koenig’s new gravure and gumoil prints.

Crowds spilled into every room at New Grounds and business was brisk.

Karl Koenig is the author of “Gumoil Photography,” and his work has been is so many major museum shows that his resume fills several pages. He has traveled the world to teach and to take photographs, and this particular show features images from Italy to Barcelona and the American Midwest.

During the reception, Karl gave a demonstration on gravure. He was assisted by one of New Grounds master printers, Rob Thalmann, It is very common in printmaking to have the plate editioned by a printer as long as the artist creates the plate. This process is often referred to as a print collaboration.

Director Regina Held introduced Karl and Rob to the packed audience. This is Karl’s forth show at New Grounds.

Karl begins his demonstration by showing the photo positive that was made to create his plate. In a nutshell, the photogravure process generates an image by exposing a photo positive to a photo polymer plate via a high powered light. Usually, artists need to do extensive testing to determine the exact exposing time for each image. The exposed plate is developed in water and then printed like an etching.

Here Rob shows how the finished plate is printed. He uses a brayer to cover the entire plate in ink.

The excess ink is then removed by gently wiping the plate with a tarlatan and then with a phone book. Rob finishes the plate by carefully cleaning the edges with a q-tip.

The inked plate is now placed on the press bed and it is covered with a piece of archival European printmaking paper.

Rob runs the plate and paper through the etching press. The high pressure applied in this 16th century process facilitates the transfer of ink from the recessed areas of the plate to the dampened paper.

The finished print next to the plate. In order to print additional images, Rob will have to repeat the inking and wiping process for every impression.

Thank you to all the volunteers and staff, such as Anise, our lovely waitress, who made this reception such a great success!

Mary Sundstrom helps at almost every reception. Thank you Mary! We also want to thank Bruce Childs who took these great pictures. This blog was submitted by Regina and Tanya.

Karl’s show will run until February 27.

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