Artist reception: February 5 / 6-8 pm
Artist talk & Demo: February 25 / 6:30 pm
In a continuing series of striking aquatint etchings Sarah M. Newton further expands on contrasting themes of living in an urban environment. In 16 new prints, depicting BART stations, Newton contemplates the significance of these particular public spaces and how we interact in and with them.
“The constructed public spaces of the transit system can be seen as an embodiment of past civic optimism, although their significance changes through age, use, the way they are maintained or neglected, or are allowed to become obsolete. Writing and publicity from the time of their construction demonstrates a deeply held belief that what benefits some people will benefit all society, while questions as to their current significance and worth are evidence of changing cultural values.”
Using photographs or sketches as initial studies, Newton reinterprets these images as prints. Hand drawn on metal plates, the prints are created slowly, through etching, scraping, burnishing and proofing the plates repeatedly. The attention that goes into the development of the image constitutes a meditation on details and spaces that often don’t receive more than a passing notice.
Rooted in the tradition of landscape painting Heidi McDowell’s work explores our contemporary relationship to the natural world as it is shaped by digital media and car culture. Technology gives us the ability to swiftly collect seemingly endless amounts of data with little incentive to edit. Using the visual language of digital source material as a familiar reference point, she renders scenes plucked from the vast stream of quickly captured images.
Primarily a painter McDowell is relatively new to the field of printmaking. She works in techniques of drypoint, trace monotype and monoprint as a way to “sketch with etching ink.” The behavior of inks, solvents and the transparent colors allow for a fluid and dynamic exploration of the changing light in landscapes.
“I see the process as a complement to my painting practice, at once reducing an image to its essential elements, while at the same time giving me a chance to depict one scene in many different light conditions.”
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