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Brian D. Cohen: Drypoints from the Landscape

The Gallery at Next Stage presents Drypoints from the Landscape by Brian D. Cohen, August 15th through November 15. The Gallery is open for viewing 30 minutes before each Next Stage event, as well as Saturdays from 10 am–1 pm, and by appointment with the artist.

Artist Statement:
This exhibit comprises a selection of drypoint prints made between 1993 and summer 2019. Drypoint is a technique for drawing directly on a metal (or Plexiglas) plate with a needle or sharp tool to create a burr (a raised ridge of metal) on the surface of the metal. In printing, the plate is covered in ink and carefully wiped so the ink is removed from the unmarked areas of the surface and left to stick to the drawn burr. A drypoint plate shows a great variety of character and intensity of marks owing to the varied pressure of the artist’s hand. I use a variety of other tools to texture the plate, as well as various means to lighten the plate through scraping, burnishing, and polishing.

Drypoint has the advantage of being quite portable, and the disadvantage of wearing down fairly quickly under the pressure of the press, as the burr is fairly fragile. As such, my editions are small. I sometimes develop the plates in the studio through subsequent states, occasionally incorporating techniques of acid etching to bring a more considered and sustained focus to these images.

An ultimately advantageous quality of drypoint is that it is essentially impossible to see what you’re doing while you’re working, as the marks do not contrast in color or value to the plate itself. Much depends on the roughness of the mark, a distinctly tactile, not visual quality. I find it liberating not to worry much about what a plate will look like — there’s no point in trying to judge what you can’t see.

My drypoints are begun on site in direct response to the landscape, and represent my regular practice of intimate and repetitive engagement with a place that I am especially drawn to. I often will work in drypoint, drawing, and watercolor from the same site, each respective medium guiding me to differing aspects of that view. Prints in this exhibit are from various trips I’ve taken to Italy, Bulgaria, Maine, and Cape Cod, as well as close to home in New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Relevant research areas: North America, Contemporary, Engraving, Etching

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