St. Johnsbury Academy faculty member Bill Darling's print "Big Tree" is being featured in a curated show at Frog Hollow in Burlington throughout the month of September. The show, entitled New Registrations, "explores the medium of printmaking with a focus on materials and processes not normally associated with the craft." Other featured artists include John Anderson, David Bumbeck, Bill Davison, Jeff Feld, Leslie Fry, Philip Godenschwager, Rick Hayes, Carol McDonald, Michele Ratte, Sue Schiller, Daryl Storrs, Claire Van Vliet, and Carleen Zimbalatti, and is co-curated by Rob Hunter, Executive Director of Frog Hollow and Mark Waskow, Founder/Director of the Waskowmium.
The curator's statement begins, "Printmaking, perhaps more than any other visual art form, requires the artist to not only be creatively and aesthetically gifted, but also technically proficient. Printmaking as a discipline requires a great deal of practice with and dedication to the process of creating an image via a variety of printing techniques. Therefore, many artists who use printmaking become very expert from a technical standpoint, often pushing the boundaries of this activity. While working towards perfecting their art; new techniques, materials, tools, and combinations of processes often are developed, both intentionally and accidentally."
Bill Darling described the process of creating his print "Big Tree" as part of the exhibit:
"Big Tree", is a mixed technique, copper plate, intaglio print. The image was created on location in a small park in Florence, Italy. The plate had a wax hard ground that I drew into with a small brush dipped in kerosene. The kerosene dissolved the wax ground exposing the copper. As I drew with the brush the plate tipped and gravity was added to the drawing process. I then took my coffee straw stirrer and blew into the gravity directed solvent adding my breath to the drawing process. When I was finished drawing, a copper silhouette of the tree was created in the wax ground. I returned to the studio and open-bit the plate in Dutch Mordant for six hours. The open-bite cut deeply into the plate creating a physical contrast of the plate surface with the tree. I drew into the recessed silhouette of the tree with wax crayon and oil based marker pens that would act as stop out to help develop form and texture. I returned the plate to the Dutch Mordant. The wax crayon slowly lifted creating a softer irregular mark while the oil paint marker did not lift at all, leaving distinct textural marks. The background was aquatinted, bitten with spit bite, and the lighter part of the sky was lightly sanded. The plate was then printed chine colle with Japanese Gampi Natural on Somerset Velvet.
Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said, "Bill has an international reputation as a master artist, and I'm so pleased to see his work displayed for more people to enjoy. He and his wife Kim, also a talented artist, have chaperoned a trip to Florence to allow our students to work with the master printmakers in Il Bisonte studio for years; it is also nice to see that one of Bill's works from Florence is featured in this show. Bill is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that our art students are fortunate to have renowned professional artists as teachers. It opens up so many possibilities for them to pursue artistic excellence."
New Registrations may be viewed at Frog Hollow, located at 85 Church Street in Burlington, Vermont, throughout the month of September. The show is free and open to the public.