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Exhibition: “On Line”

By September 2, 2020No Comments
Manneken Press Ted Kincaid Nest

On Line

Celebrating line in print

On Line can be viewed online at Artsy

The show runs through October 31st, 2020.

T he most basic element of drawing is line. A line can be straight or curved, thick or thin, uniform or variable, direct or meandering. Line can be used to describe a form, hatched to create a tone or demark a grid. Line can be expressive or subtle, orderly or erratic. On Line presents nineteen prints in which line is the sole or predominant element, and reveals the manifold ways that artists employ line.

Manneken Press Jane McNichol monotype
Jonathan Higgins: "Blue Grid", 2014. Reduction linocut.

For an artist making prints, the image is mediated by the printmaking process: the artist’s marks are made on a matrix that is then inked and printed. Line can be drawn, painted, carved, scratched, etched or engraved into a matrix. The mode of making the plate and how it is subsequently inked and printed further mediates the outcome of the image.

A  single line is used to describe a vase and its reflection in black space in Jane McNichol’s monotype “Celadon”. “Blue Grid” by Jonathan Higgins is a reductive linocut made up of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines of varying colors against a blue ground. A vertical column of swirling lines is the focus of “Helices I”, a drypoint by Rupert Deese. Chris Clarke used etched line in “Untitled (WTC)” to render a haunting image of the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. Tom Orr’s Waterfall prints capture the sense of movement and space of a cascade; shimmering moire’ patterns and subtle tonal differentiations between the sets of uniform and irregular lines produce a dynamic visual phenomenon. Richard Hull’s “Ton”, John Coleman‘s “Self Portrait A” and “William” by Trevor Southey all utilize the portrait format and a monochromatic palette. Hull’s etching is densely drawn and textured with etched lines, cross hatching and dotted strokes and tonally modulated with step-bitten aquatints, resulting in a portrait-like structure expressing a distinct visual personality rather than a representation of a particular individual. Coleman captures his own visage in vigorous and expressive drypoint lines; Southey uses etched line to sculpt the features of his family’s former gardener, a poetic remembrance from his childhood in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

Manneken Press Rupert Deese Helices l
Trevor Southey: "William", 1988. Etching
The artists included in the exhibition are:
  • Chad Buck
  • Chris Clarke
  • John Coleman
  • Brian Cypher
  • Rupert Deese
  • LJ Douglas
  • Peter Feldstein
  • Betty Friedman
  • Jonathan Higgins
  • Richard Hull
  • Ted Kincaid
  • Jane McNichol
  • Tom Orr
  • Kate Petley
  • Sarah Smelser
  • Trevor Southey.

Above: “William”, 1988, by Trevor Southey. Etching, 30″ x 20″

Below: “Untitled (WTC)”, 2002, by Chris Clarke. Etching, 22″ x 30″

Chris Clarke: "Untitled (WTC)", 2002. Etching

“On Line” is the next iteration of our periodic online group exhibitions highlighting particular techniques or thematic threads running between artists in our archive. Check out the blog post on our 2018 exhibition titled “Painterly Prints“. That exhibition can still be viewed on Artsy.

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