Thursday, September 9, 2010

Matteson’s landscapes hum

Walking Rain Fugue

Matteson’s abstract landscapes are vibrant, dramatic, and invite the viewer to observe the interaction of light, color, shape, pattern, and motion. In his landscapes, objects have been masterfully reduced to their essential qualities, yet his dramatic palette often evokes the tense moment of an approaching storm, simmering heat, or the steam rising from the drenched earth.

Matteson was kind enough to demonstrate the etching process during his reception. Etching is part of the intaglio family of printmaking techniques. They all have in common that the design is below the plate surface.

To begin with, the blank copper plate is coated with an acid resistant material called hard ground. At New Grounds, we use Z-Acryl hard ground which does not require any harmful solvents to be removed from the plate. Instead, it is water-soluble when wet, and comes off with a mild soda ash solution when dry. A design is now drawn on the coated plate (not shown here) which exposes the copper underneath. It is made permanent by immersing the plate in ferric chloride – it literally etches the drawn lines into the plate.

The plate is now ready to be printed. To do so, ink (at New Grounds we use water soluble Akua intaglio inks) is carded over the entire plate with strips of mat board.

Once the plate is covered completely in ink, the excess is removed first by using strips of mat board and then a very stiff cheese cloth called “tarlatan.”

The inked plate is now placed on the press bed, and it is covered with a sheet of printing paper. At New Grounds, we prefer Hahnemuhle paper because it is extremely absorbent.

Plate and paper are then covered with printing blankets which cushion the impact of the roller as the plate and paper are moved through the etching press. Note that the only purpose of the press is to apply very high pressure to the plate. We use Takach presses at New Grounds.

The finished print! Actually, a client who saw the demo purchased the print outright – how great is that!

If you missed the reception, Jacob Tarazon Matteson’s show “Landscape Voices” runs through September 25. It’s a fabulous show filled with surprises.

Thanks to all our volunteers!

Tanya looking for music

Nick was our fabulous greeter for the evening!