Air Pressure

Wednesday February 14, 2024 - Saturday May 25, 2024

Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 4:30 p.m.
Pruzan Art Center
New location between Wesleyan’s Olin Memorial Library and Frank Center for Public Affairs
238 Church Street, Middletown, Connecticut
Air Pressure

Image: Thomas Willoughby Nason, "Summer Storm," 1940. Chiaroscuro wood engraving. Gift of William C. Murphy (BA Wesleyan 1906) in honor of George W. Davison (BA Wesleyan 1892), 1942.17.1. (Photo: M. Cook). © Janet W. Eltinge Trust.

Air Pressure is an exhibition that explores the representation of air in print. Working with the airless processes of printmaking, which require direct contact between a printing matrix and paper, artists have continually discovered new ways of achieving a variety of atmospheric effects in their work, from glowing clouds to changing weather systems. The exhibition features artworks spanning six centuries from the Davison Art Collection, including works by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), Yvonne Jacquette (1934–2023), Stow Wengenroth (1906–1978), and James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903).

In the works on view in Air Pressure, unmarked expanses of paper, organized systems of lines, and translucent veils of ink left on printing plates take their turns infusing printed compositions with air. The prints also express artists’ fascination with air’s diverse qualities and changeable nature. Two prints by Félix-Hilaire Buhot (1847–1898) evoke the bracing contact between skin and air in compositions depicting a frigid winter morning and pedestrians buffeted by gales of wind. Wengenroth crafts atmospheres that are balmy yet refreshing in another pair of works portraying mild summer days. A selection of aerial views from five different centuries demonstrates artists’ longstanding interest in situating spectators in the air, and another selection of works examines darker manifestations of air as mediums for pollution, explosions, and stenches.

The Air Pressure exhibition will be closed from Saturday, March 9 through Sunday, March 24, 2024; and from Saturday, May 18 through Thursday, May 23, 2024.