Drapery on a Shelf by Holly Downing

Drapery on a Shelf by Holly Downing

Drapery on a Shelf

Holly Downing

Title

Drapery on a Shelf

 
Artist

Holly Downing

  1948 - PRESENT (biography)
Year
1982  
Technique
mezzotint 
Image Size
14 1/2 x 18" image size 
Signature
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
16 of 30  
Annotations
pencil titled, dated and numbered 
Reference
 
Paper
Rives BFK 
State
published 
Publisher
artist 
Inventory ID
HD154 
Price
$750.00 
Description

Holly Downing created nine small mezzotints, each a still-life depicting a piece of cloth, draped in different ways on a shelf. She then printed all nine plates as a single composition, done in an edition of 30. She also printed each small plate in an edition of 25.

Downing states on her website: "Mezzotint is a form of engraving, whose subtle qualities are achieved with tone rather than line. The artist spends many hours "rocking" a copper plate until the plate has thousands of tiny holes, each with a bit of raised burr that hold a tremendous amount of ink.

A fully rocked plate prints a lush, velvety black, unparalleled in any other medium. To obtain an image, the artist scrapes the surface of the plate, variously lowering the levels of the burrs so they will hold less ink and thereby yield gradations of dark and light. Gradually an image emerges out of the darkness. The plate is inked by hand and printed on an etching press.

This extraordinarily time consuming process, while laborious to some, is meditative and highly satisfying to me. Using only the pressure of my hand on the scraping tool, I can imbue simple still life objects - drapery, tools, a shell - with a reserved strength and beauty that I obtain in no other medium. Light and shadow have the power to transform the seemingly immutable. Somewhere along the way psychological states of mind reveal themselves, and our outer and inner worlds connect."