Saturday, July 21, 2012

Art at the Kawanhee Inn

The work has been hanging for more than a month, but because I did not do an official announcement or host a reception, some people are surprised that part of the Grand Canyon Gravure series (along with other more straight-forward photographic work) is hanging at the Kawanhee Inn.

The photogravures that are hanging in the Moose Room include:
Campsite Quanta
Camp 118.6
Winter Canyon
Tequila Beach
Chief Kawanhee
Moonset O' K

Here is part of the information sheet that I wrote for customers of the Kawanhee Inn.

Q:  What is a photogravure?
A:  Photogravure is a photo-mechanical process that dates back to the earliest years of photography.  It is still the most archivally stable printing process available for photography, which means that, under normal conditions, the image can last several hundred years.  The photograph can be captured with any camera. Whether that means using modern digital equipment or one of the large format glass plate cameras from the 19th century.  The unique look of photogravure, as well as its longevity, is a result of a printing process based around intaglio printmaking techniques well established by the year 1430.
The original photograph is reproduced on either a metal (traditional) or polymer (contemporary) plate as a collection of engraved pockets and lines.  Ink is manually wiped onto the plate, and forced into the recesses.  A multi-step process of wiping removes the ink from the top of the plate while leaving the ink in the recessed lines and pockets.  Specialized cotton printmaking paper is evenly dampened with water, placed on top of the plate and run through a high pressure etching press.  The damp paper dips into the recessed areas that contain ink and starts a wicking process that draws the ink onto the paper, leaving an impression of the image.  The process also leaves a depression on the paper that can be seen as a rectangle surrounding the image.

Q:  What is an archival pigment print?
A:  Pigment printing is the current name for museum-quality ink jet printing, which uses longer lasting pigment-based inks instead of quickly fading dye-based inks.  Some people refer to an archival pigment print as a “giclee” print, which is a term coined in the 1990’s by the first printers to use archivally stable inks in IRIS printers.  To be able to use the word “archival”, the ink and paper used must maintain 90% of its color gamut (the range of colors) for 50 years under normal indoor lighting conditions.  The inks used in these prints are rated for at least 80 years.

Q:  How do I make sure my print lasts as long as possible?
A:  The two most important steps are protecting your work of art from immediate physical damage and direct sunlight (UV).   Other than hiding the image in a dark safe, the best option is framing under glass or acrylic (plexi).  Everything framed in this series uses acrylic.  Acrylic will not break as easily as glass, thus provides more protection from physical harm.  It also has a natural tendency to filter some ultraviolet light (UV).   If your work is going to be displayed in direct sunlight, you will need to visit a frame shop that can install glass or acrylic which contains an additional UV coating.

Q:  Where did you get these frames?
A:  The frames you see at the Kawanhee Inn are made, one at a time, either from wood that is recycled from docks, barns, cabins, or new wood that was harvested and milled at least one year ago from local trees.

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