REfocus: Contemporary Photogravure
March 18-April 24, 2014
The process of photogravure leaves a unique impression. That is not to say that the prints are unique, they are, after all multiples on paper. The process, however, yields special qualities that have made it attractive for artists since the late 19th Century. The four artists represented in this exhibition, Lynne Allen, Barbara Madsen, Lothar Osterberg and Judy Pfaff, are working with a media that has been considered to be one of the finest methods of reproducing photographic images in ink on paper.
Photogravure, as the name implies, exhibits all of the characteristics of several other print processes, etching, aquatint and mezzotint. This is due to the printing matrix which when properly made is essentially a photographic image etched into copper, hand-printed with an oil-based ink onto paper. The production and printing are arduous to master, and, although there have been periods where the process was used commercially, the trade secrets and materials used in the manufacture of these prints needed to be reinvented and is continually being updated. These artists lead the way in a resurgence of the artistic usage and a refinement of the practice of photogravure in the studio. Their approaches to making prints using this process are both distinct and refreshing.
Zeppelins Docking at Grand Central (detail), 2013