September 8, 2006 – October 28, 2006
Below the Surface was selected from submitted prints by Peter Pettingill, a master printer with over twenty years of experience in the field of intaglio printmaking. He trained and worked at Crown Point Press in California from 1978 – 1985, and went on to establish Wingate Studio in New Hampshire, where he continues to print and publish etchings by contemporary artists. Wingate has produced prints by Walton Ford, Sol LeWitt, Robert Ryman, John Cage and many others, including “local” artists Gregory Gillespie, John Gibson and Richard Ryan. He has served as an adjunct printmaking instructor at Smith College and acted as master printer for print workshops at Smith, Hartford Art School and Boston University.
Entry to Below the Surface was open to artists affiliated with Zea Mays Printmaking – studio members, workshop participants and guest faculty – many of whom live in the Greater Pioneer Valley area, and artists from around New England and from as far away as Philadelphia are also represented in the show. Mr. Pettingill states about the experience of selecting work for this exhibit: “After more than twenty-five years of working with intaglio printmaking, I still continue to enjoy looking at prints. The sheer physical presence of a printed sheet arrests me even before I have had a chance to consider its image. My preferences are definitely colored by my interest in the technical aspects of printmaking. I like to get up very close. Prints will always reveal something new in the close reading of them. It is my prejudice as a printmaker to want to examine them closely to decipher their technical secrets. These technical aspects are what attracted my attention in the prints I selected for this exhibition. I might find someone working in a technique that is familiar, but employed in a way that surprises me or teaches me something new. As I looked at the various submissions, I was reminded over and over of the variety of results that ensue from individual printmakers working in their own studios with their own secrets. I have tried to include as wide a range of style and technique as possible. Because of space considerations, I also tried to limit my selections to one print per artist. In some cases, prints intended to be shown as a group were kept together. In all, I feel that this exhibit is a testament to the life and vitality of printmaking in our time. In studios like Zea Mays and others across the country and around the world, artists are pursuing their vision, experimenting with safer materials and inventing the techniques to employ them. They are combining these new ideas with the centuries old methods that are the legacy of art history. The results, I feel, are both encouraging and inspiring.”
The work on display encompasses many working methods, materials and techniques within the realm of intaglio printmaking, including etching, drypoint, mezzotint, aquatint, photopolymer, Solar plate and a surprising number of mixed media processes.