Contemporary Mezzotints

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Yozo Hamaguchi


I’ve been reading through Carol Wax’s book “The Mezzotint: History and Technique“, as well as researching contemporary mezzotints online. I also found Davidson Galleries in Seattle, which seems to represent a number of contemporary mezzotint artists.  The pickings are pretty slim, as there are so few artists out there practicing this medium today. What I’ve noticed in looking at contemporary mezzotints is that the majority of them feature dazzling technical skills, but don’t seem to have much going on in terms of their subject matter. The majority of subjects seem to be photo-realistic still life images that are small in scale. I actually really love this Yozo Hamaguchi mezzotint of grapes seen below, but it seemed to be the only still life image that really spoke to me in my research.

I found very few figure or portrait images.  The ones that I did find just seemed to be artful nudes, like the works of Mikio Watanabe.  His mezzotints are technically extraordinary, but in my opinion don’t go anywhere in terms of content.

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Mikio Watanabe

I’m still eagerly waiting for my prerocked plate from Graphic Chemical to arrive.  I’m thrilled to have a reason to return to intaglio printmaking.  I worked on a few monotype experiments in recent years, but I haven’t done any intaglio work since 2006 when I was working on the Waiting series.  I really, really want these mezzotints to work out, I think they will provide a nice balance and contrast to the large scale figure drawings I’m working on right now.


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