Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Collotype and Photogravure - Traditional Process in the Digital Age

Opening March 13th at the Project Basho Gallery at 1305 Germantown Ave. in Philly is “Time: Exhibition of Contemporary Collotype Prints.” The title of this exhibition references both the lengthy process involved in the production of a single print and the anachronism of the use of this technique in today’s totally automated times.

Also working today are artists using the photogravure technique, a process similar to collotype. A recent exhibition curated by photogravure artist, Peter Miller, can be viewed at Luminous-Lint. Contemporary artists using this technique include John Goodman, Lothar Osterburg and Glen Rubsamen.

The photogravure process emerged in 1829 and the collotype was developed in 1839 during the developmental stages of photography. At the time, these processes appealed to both photographers and printmakers because of their aesthetic qualities, available tonal range and resistance to fading.

Today, artists have a unique opportunity to explore the combination of traditional methods and emerging digital technologies in the production of artwork. This phenomenon particularly affects printmakers as the advent of digital printers creates new, less process-oriented methods of printmaking and increases the general public’s ability to produce printed images.
“Time” is a particularly interesting project because it deals with these contemporary printmaking issues through the use of a process that was developed initially as a method of reproducing photographs. It features artists Emmet Gowin, Eikoh Hosoe, Graciela Iturbide, Koichiro Kurita, John Pfahl, Ryuji Taira, George Tice and Auther Tress.
To learn more about the exhibition and the history and process of making collotype and photogravure prints, follow these links:

Time: Exhibition of Contemporary Collotype Prints at Project Basho

Collotype Historical Information from the Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Collotype Database at the Bristol School of Art Media & Design
- To enter database, click the given link. Username: collotype, Password: collotype.
- Contained are articles explaining in detail various collotype processes.

Art of the Photogravure Blog – A Comprehensive Resource Dedicated to the Photogravure

Images: Top – Glen Rubsamen, Chaos a few feet away, 2007 Photogravure
Bottom – Artist working on a collotype from Project Basho’s “Time”

Written by Dana M. Osburn - Philagrafika Blog Intern