Digital to paint
Solar etchings and reduction relief prints
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not easy. In fact it can be downright frustrating to basically work backward to create a hand-pulled print, according to students in the Currier Art Center’s Open Studio program.
It can take four or five different cuts into the printing plate to create a reduction relief print, and the artist can end up with several copies of a print but no original plate to use again.
“It was difficult for them mentally to deal with this and they did a really good job,” said Linn Krikorian, the Open Studio supervisor. They have to think of it backward, and from light to dark, she said.
The students also worked on a solar etching technique to make prints. To create hers, Angeera Khadka, 17, of Manchester, said she layered a letter she found over an image of a sunflower using Photoshop. She photocopied the result onto acetate transparency. The transparency is layered on top of a metal plate covered with a photoemulsive and exposed to sun, or in Open Studio’s case, sun lamps, Krikorian said. The students could also draw onto their acetate. Once the plate is run under water, it etches the design into the plate, which the students use to make the hand-pulled prints.
Debra Hardy, 17, of Derry, took a photo of the new Mark di Suvero sculpture, “Origins,” outside of the Currier Museum of Art, and layered it with an image from an artwork that Hardy said reminded her of a man who had been covered with acid and was screaming. She used the resulting image for her solar etching. “I’ve never done this type of printmaking before,” Hardy said. Sarah Berry, 18, of Manchester explained that each semester Open Studio covers a different medium with a different professional artist-in-residence. This semester’s artist-in-residence, John O’Shaughnessy, is a regular faculty member for the Currier Art Center and is represented by Art 3 Gallery in Manchester.
The media on which Open Studio focuses are ones that students wouldn’t normally focus on at high school. And even when something is as challenging as the reduction relief prints, they know at least they won’t be taken by surprise if they study art in college, Hardy said. The second time with the technique can be much easier, Krikorian explained.
The 14 students from Open Studio’s 2008 spring semester open their exhibit, “Portraits and Personal Imagery: Reduction Relief Prints and Solar Plate Etchings,” with a reception Thursday, June 5, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Gallery in the Currier Museum of Art at 150 Ash St. in Manchester (669-6144, www.currier.org). The show will hang through Sept. 1. The artwork is for sale, and proceeds benefit the Open Studio program.
You can see the result of another Open Studio project on the outside of the Boys & Girls Club of Manchester, where a mural created under artist-in-residence Roberto Chao was installed.