Judith Rothchild: Black Magic
February 23 – May 18, 2013
An exhibition of exquisite mezzotint prints by this notable American-born, France-based artist.
Judith Rothchild: Black Magic includes a selection of Rothchild’s exquisite mezzotints referencing subjects ranging from nature and still life to travel and street-scapes, and ordinary objects drawn from everyday life.
Mezzotint originates from the Italian words mezzo (half) and tinta (tone), and the print is known for a luxurious quality of tones from velvety black to luminous whites. It is the most demanding technique of all printmaking, requiring much time and physical energy. However, Rothchild sums up her devotion to the medium stating, “The subject of these prints is really the pleasure of looking…it is more than ever essential to take the time to observe and to share these moments of concentration with the viewer.” Rothchild works directly from life not photographs, either having the object set in front of her or referencing her drawings of landscapes rendered on location. This method allows her to capture the undistilled essence of the subjects.
Mezzotint was invented around 1640 in Amsterdam and grew to be widely practiced in England. Originally it was not artists who practiced the process, but engravers who produced commercial portraits. Nearly obsolete by the mid 19th-century, largely due to the invention of photography, the mezzotint process re-emerged in the 20th-century, practiced by artists who had a desire to experiment. Upon looking at a mezzotint, one may think it looks like a photograph. However, Rothchild is quick to point out that since the invention of mezzotint preceded photography, “photographs look like mezzotints.”
Rothchild was born in Boston, Massachusetts and studied drawing, painting and printmaking at Sarah Lawrence College and earned a Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1972. She currently lives and works in a small village in the Languedoc region of France. She regularly teaches mezzotint courses at the Maison de la Gravure at Castelnau near Montpellier, and has previous given workshops at Smith College, Kala Art Institute, and recently at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.
In addition to numerous U.S. venues, Rothchild has exhibited her work in France, England, Spain, and China. Her work is included in permanent collections at The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Fogg Museum (Harvard University), The New York Public Library, and The Bibliotheque Nationale de France, among others. In 1997 she and her partner Mark Lintott established Éditions Verdigris and have jointly published more than twenty Livres d’Artiste