Fleming Museum of Art Opens Andrew Raftery: Open House Prints Exhibition

Fleming Museum of Art has opened a new exhibition celebrating the craft of contemporary printmaker, Andrew Raftery, on view September 20 – December 16, 2011.

This exhibition presents a five-part print series by New England based contemporary printmaker, Andrew Raftery. Accompanying the series are architectural models, figure models, and over fifty working drawings that reflect the artist’s exhaustive preparatory process. Raftery uses the age-old technique of copper-plate engraving to explore the commonplace activity of shopping for a new home. Each scene in the five-part narrative depicts a moment of time during an open house, and presents an exquisitely detailed commentary on contemporary definitions of home, family, and interpersonal relations.

Throughout the series, one sees images of the changing structure of the American family represented alongside design trends such as a Michael Graves/Alessi kettle in the kitchen and a pair of men’s Nike sneakers in the bedroom. A David Hockney lithograph hangs in the living room along with a Robert Mapplethorpe photogravure. Raftery’s prints are striking for both the exacting process through which they were created – it took the artist over six years to conceptualize and complete the series – and their subject matter, which avoids the dramatic, sensational, and unusual in favor of a detailed interpretation of everyday life. And yet, this meticulous account of the process of selling a home carries additional resonance in light of the recent collapse of the real estate market and the subsequent weakening of the worldwide banking system, the ramifications of which we are still dealing with today.

A complementary exhibition, The Incised Line: Engravings from the Fleming Museum Collection, in the adjacent gallery, provides context on the history of engraving through examples from the Museum’s collection.

This exhibition was organized by the Fleming Museum with generous support from the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Endowment Fund and the Walter Cerf Exhibitions Endowment.

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