The Fleming Museum of Art
announces the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the craft of contemporary printmaker, Andrew Raftery. The exhibition, titled Andrew Raftery: Open House, presents a five-part print series by New England based contemporary artist. Accompanying the series are preliminary studies created over a six-year period: architectural models, cast-resin figure models, and a selection of over fifty working drawings in a variety of mediums that reflect the artists exhaustive preparatory process. Raftery uses the age-old technique of copper-plate engraving to explore the commonplace activity of shopping for a new home. Each scene in the five-part narrative depicts a moment of time during an open house, presenting an exquisitely detailed and complex view of home, family, and interpersonal relations.
Throughout the series, one sees images of the changing structure of the American family represented alongside design trends such as a Michael Graves/Alessi kettle in the kitchen and a pair of mens Nike sneakers in the bedroom. A David Hockney lithograph hangs in the living room along with a Robert Mapplethorpe photogravure. Rafterys prints are striking for both the exacting process through which they were created it took the artist over six years to conceptualize and complete the series and their subject matter, which avoids the dramatic, sensational, and unusual in favor of a detailed interpretation of everyday life. And yet, this meticulous account of the process of selling a home carries additional resonance in light of the recent collapse of the real estate market and the subsequent weakening of the worldwide banking system, the ramifications of which we are still dealing with today.
Dutch artists in the 17th century first popularized such scenes of everyday life, or genre scenes, presenting an intimate mirror of contemporary social interaction that provides a historical model for Raftery. His strong linear approach to the medium draws on the visual tradition of leading 17th - and 18th-century French engravers as well as celebrated German printmakers. A complementary exhibition, The Incised Line: Engravings from the Fleming Museum Collection, in the adjacent gallery, provides context on the history of engraving through examples from the Museums collection. Both exhibitions are on view through December 16, 2011.
This exhibition was organized by the Fleming Museum of Art, with generous support from the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Endowment Fund, and the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Endowment. It will travel to Wesleyan University, and to the College of St. Rose.