The etched plate for for the intaglio-print component of Webster’s Pantheon series
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Chuck Webster’s Newest Project

The acclaimed artist’s new fine-art prints for The Mezzanine Gallery combine a variety of printing techniques for a unique result

Brooklyn-based artist Chuck Webster has earned acclaim for his large-format paintings and prints, and his work is represented in The Met collection. Which is why it’s particularly exciting that The Mezzanine Gallery at The Met Store has partnered with Webster on his latest project: the Pantheon series, a triptych portfolio in a limited edition of 20 that combines three printmaking processes. Here, the artist himself speaks about his work, and takes us through his approach with master printers Andrew Mockler (Jungle Press Editions) and Peter Pettengill (Wingate Studio).

“For this portfolio I used three different printmaking processes: woodcut, stone lithography, and intaglio. I wanted to let each process speak for itself, and have a conversation with the other two. Although the parameters in the prints are consistent—size, content, and subject, the language and physical touch of each process is very different.”

Webster (right) confers with master printers Peter Pettengill (center) and James Pettengill (left) at Wingate Studio in Hinsdale, NH

 

“Intaglio prints, contrary to relief printing, are made of the small holes and furrows that the etching tools and acid make on the plate. Printed under immense pressure, the paper pulls the ink from the incised lines and marks of the plate. Through spit bite, levels of aquatint, drypoint, and various other intaglio techniques, we were able to create a multi-dimensional image layering five different copper plates. The plates act as a record of marks made, and unmade, that are scraped away leaving traces of their history and then re-drawn. By working and re-combining each individual plate we gradually achieve the balance and depth that gives the print its rich complexity.”

Peter Pettengill and Webster examine a proof

 

“In lithography, the block of limestone is sanded repeatedly until the surface is perfectly flat, sensitive and receptive in its own way, making this printmaking technique a perfect choice for this triptych. Working with the tusche washes and crayon is an addictive and powerful kind of touch that comes through in an extraordinary way. The stone is extremely sensitive to the marks. It is a mysterious, thrilling process in that these thick and massive stones demand a high specificity of actions. Woodcut is a much more direct medium than etching or lithography. Carving away wood with gouges and Japanese woodcut tools, I cut four blocks, each representing a distinct area of color and range of textures. When combined, the blocks coalesce into a tactile, direct image with a rich range of embossed marks.”

James and Peter Pettengill in their studio

 

“I have known master printers Andrew Mockler and Peter Pettengill for a long time and I really like working with them, and I love collaboration. It is as though we are both pushing the work as far as it will go. Peter, Andrew, and I were rolling the boulder to the top of the hill as a team. I let the master printers do their magic—I get out of their
way.”

 

Webster’s series will be revealed at The Mezzanine Gallery at The Met Store on Friday, November 1. Call 212-570-3767 for more information.

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