Giza’s show of ballet dancers and backstage scenes is reminiscent of old master drawings. Giza, who is a retired dancer himself, spends all his spare time sketching and drawing. Most of his plates are created directly in the ballet studio – dancers have become quite accustomed to be drawn by him while they are tying their shoes, doing their hair, or stretching.
In fact, Giza spent the reception drawing one of his dancers. His drypoint demonstration, a first for New Grounds, drew a huge crowd.
In this technique a sharp tool such as an etching needle is used to scratch directly in the metal plate creating a burr that yields a characteristically soft and expressive line. In addition, Giza also uses a mezzotint rocker to layer darker areas into his plate.
Mezzotint, just like drypoint, is a non-etch intaglio technique. No acid is used to create information on the plate. Instead, the plate is worked on directly with positive marks as in drypoint, or with negative marks as in mezzotint. In the latter, the plate is literally covered with small pits by rocking the toothed tool systematically across the plate which results in a completely black plate. The image is then created by burnishing some of those pits which will create a variety of gray values. Brian uses the rocker as a positive tool to create dark areas which are not intended to be burnished. He creates some shading by only partially rocking the plate. The resulting image has rich color, texture and depth such as seen in “Sylphide.”
To proof the image, Brian covers the plate completely with ink, removes the excess with a heavily sized cheesecloth also referred to as a “tarlatan and places the inked plate on the press bed (not shown here).
Printmaking paper is placed over the inked plate, and the image is then transferred to paper by rolling it through the etching press.
Ah, the moment of “lift-off” when the paper is peeled off the plate and the image is revealed. What a lovely image, Brian!
Brian also does portraits from life directly on plates. Here is a plate with an image of gallery assistant Tanya.
A special thanks to everybody who helped with this reception, Mike Rudahl, Mary Sundstrom, Pamela Wesolek, Tanya and Anise.
Last but not least, our intern Justin (here with his girlfriend) did a tremendous job as a greeter. We love you Justin!!!!!!!!!
The show will run until June 26 if you missed the reception or if you would like to see it again. It’s a stunning show.
Also, click below to see a video of the demonstration!
Oh, and here is the embed code for sharing the video: