Summer Fiction: Three bathers / 2015

Fieser, Stephen
Drypoint engraving
Summer Fiction series


Pencil signed

Sepia ink on ivory paper

Image: 3 ⅝” x 5 ¼” (platemark is larger)

Sheet: 7” x 10”

Pristine condition

1 in stock


The Summer Fiction figure studies are inspired by bathers at City Island –a park in the Susquehanna River, belonging to Pennsylvania’s capital city.

The figures begin with sketches or photographs made on the beach. These images are translated into studio drawings, with many adjustments of pose and gesture. Physiognomy is reinvented, while age and even gender may change. Clothing is altered or changed completely. Most of the hands and feet are pure invention. Sometimes only a fragment of the original motif remains.

From a great pile of such studio drawings, figures are selected and recombined in new drawings to create imagined relationships. At this point, images with certain qualities of emotion and design are drawn once again– this time with engraving tools on smooth copper plates. (Some of the finished prints show traces of an x/y axis used to transfer drawing to plate, with the aid of an engineer’s proportional dividers.)

The plates are always in a flux, with proofs taken after every few hours of work. Only some of those proofs are kept and signed, while the unsatisfactory ones are destroyed. The result is a series of prints that records the slow development of the drypoint engraving. While the ultimate number of proofs remains open, it is unlikely that there will be more than fifty. (To date, no more than twenty proofs from any of these plates exist.)

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