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Andrew Raftery: Open House

Friday September 14, 2012 - Sunday December 9, 2012
Andrew Raftery: Open HouseAndrew Raftery (American, born 1962), Open House: Scene One, 2008. Engraving. Courtesy of the artist and Mary Ryan Gallery, New York.

An attractive young couple enters the hallway of a house for sale, while a realtor hands an older couple the property listing. This ordinary, fleeting moment was created by Andrew Raftery as the first scene in his immaculately detailed series of engravings, Open House, 2004-2008. The set of five copper-plate engravings meticulously depicts a single moment of time--11:30 on a summer weekend morning--from multiple perspectives as a group of strangers examines a home for sale. The resulting work reveals a fascination with contemporary consumerism and bourgeois life, depicted with the elegant details of an archaic printmaking technique.

To create this single moment in all its complexity, Raftery spent more than six years exhaustively planning the project. The exhibition included architectural models, figure models, and over fifty working drawings. The scenes were executed in the precise, controlled technique of copper-plate engraving. Raftery uses a sharp metal tool called a burin to cut directly into a copper plate, which is then inked and printed. One of the artists he studied intensely was Claude Mellan (French, 1598-1688). A comparison with selected prints by Mellan from the DAC collection underscored the virtuosity of Raftery's line.

The exhibition and accompanying catalog were organized by the Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, and funded in part by the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Endowment Fund and the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Endowment. Support for this exhibition at Wesleyan came from the Lemberg Fund.

Related Event

Talk by the artist
Tuesday 18 September, 5:00 p.m., CFA Hall
A reception at the gallery followed.