Professor’s prints evoke the past
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 02:02
Yesterday evening, Oregon State University’s Visiting Artist and Scholars program hosted a lecture by artist and professor Andrew Stein Raftery who gave a presentation of his printmaking process.
Through the Visiting Artists and Scholars program, Oregon State can bring renowned artists like Raftery to campus. The artists spend time with students in studios, present their work and discuss various art-related topics during their lectures.
Raftery, who specializes in and is a professor of printmaking of the Rhode Island School of Design, explained his meticulous process, the history of his medium of choice and his work as an artist to Oregon State students, faculty and members of the community.
Raftery agreed to support the Norma Seaver Printmaking Scholarship, giving the department an original artwork engraved in copper. The prints will be displayed in May, during the reception for the scholarship.
Raftery produced the plate through a combination of etching techniques. In the image, a woman presents a cashmere textile to the viewer.
The artist discussed two of his finished series titled “Open House” and “Suit Shopping” and a series he is currently working on, reflecting his passion for gardening through a 12-month narration. His Open House series was completed in 2008, drawing inspiration from his own search for a house.
“The character of the house’s owners are evident even though they are not there,” Raftery said.
Raftery explained research was a critical part of his process. In order to support and translate what he wanted to the viewer, he immersed himself in his created worlds. Raftery described one of his scenes in Open House.
“I wanted to include the most expensive cappuccino machine I could find in order to give a sense of these tropes of consumption,” Raftery said.
In order to achieve the scenes, Raftery described his process of creating models. Miniature wax figures and highly detailed foam core interiors were created from the artist’s imagination and then used to create drawings and paintings before putting his tools to the metal plates.
He also works on site, drawing from real interiors and combining details to achieve his imaginary environments.
“This preparation doesn’t prepare the lines, it just prepares the compositions and the tones.” Raftery said.
Suit Shoppping is another series of prints Raftery presented and, just as in Open House, depicts an intricate and intimate narrative of American culture.
The importance of art history is invaluable to Raftery.
“We can use our studio tools to study works of art in new ways and very fresh ways,” Raftery said.
By copying sixteenth century prints by artist Durer, Raftery and his colleagues are able to study how etched plate’s age. By immersing himself into multiple facets of art, including ancient history and traditional techniques, his work provides viewers with an authentic piece of history in contemporary culture.
Alice Marshall, arts reporter