Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July First Friday Exhibition - Explorations in Gravure

Viewers enjoy a selection of Lincoln Draper's single-plate gravure prints.

On July 3, New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery hosted a First Friday reception, which featured a great new exhibition of gravure prints by Lincoln Draper, Fransisco Valenzuela and Jessica Weybright.

The exhibition, Explorations in Gravure - 19th Century Aesthetic, 21st Century Technology, runs through July 31. 

Works by Jessica Weybright (L) and Fransisco Valenzuela (R)

In this particular exhibition, we juxtapose various approaches to gravure, centered on landscape. Our three artists are examples of single plate, duo tone and full color gravure.

Lincoln Draper evokes the many moods and feelings of New Mexico through rich, traditional black and white imagery. His single-plate approach references a classic 19th century aesthetic. 

Lincoln Draper with one of his prints,
contemplating my iPad photography 'skills.'

More of the crowd enjoying Lincoln's work (that's Jessica Weybright, too!)

Lincoln also gave a single-plate gravure demo. You can expect the demo video soon!
He demonstrated inking, wiping and printing one of the pieces featured in the exhibition.

Lincoln Draper's demo station
Lincoln Draper's Narrow Crossing

Fransisco Valenzuela uses the principle of duo tone by printing two plates, almost alike, and almost in the same hue, with the first one light and the second plate saturated. The result is a richer finality than printing the same plate once, bringing his world to life. 

Fransisco Valenzula's San Lorenzo de Picuris

Jessica Weybright’s colorful, layered multi-plate works document a romantic vision of her travels through Asia. Using multiple plates gives Weybright’s work a vibrant sense of transparency and movement.

Tanya Beth, Ken Murakami and Lincoln Draper

Multi-plate gravure by Jessica Weybright

Regina Held, Fransisco Valenzuela (R) and other guests

It is important to understand that gravure is not a means of reproducing existing photographs or drawings.  Photographs that will become the base for the photo etching usually need to be shot and developed differently than for photographic prints. The advantage of photo etching is its flexibility, which allows artists from varied backgrounds such as photography, computer graphics, and drawing to create hand printed limited editions. There is no limit to color, plates can be wiped in any one ink, several plates can be printed on top of each other, subtle shading can be achieved with selective wiping or chine collĂ©, and gravure can be combined with any other printmaking techniques. The limit is the artist’s imagination.

Hong Kong Love Song II - Jessica Weybright

While in photography a negative is exposed directly to light-sensitive paper, in photogravure the image is exposed to a light-sensitive plate from which the image is then hand-printed on paper using an etching press. It is this particular detail that places gravure into the realm of printmaking.

Photogravure – which precedes photography - was revived in the mid-90s with the introduction of safer, light-sensitive polymer films and plates adapted from the circuit board industry. The image is generated 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 can be printed almost immediately.

Viewers enjoy the work of Lincoln Draper

Tanya Landin and Jessica Weybright

Want to learn gravure yourself? We offer classes!

Miss the opening? Don't worry. The exhibition runs until July 31. 

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