September 23 - December 31, 2021
September 23 - December 31, 2021
We are pleased to present 24 etchings that Jake Berthot created with the notable publisher and print shop, Simmelink Sukimoto. Simmelink Sukimoto was established in 1988 by Doris Simmelink and Chris Sukimoto as a print shop specializing in the processes of etching and woodcut. Berthot collaborated with Doris and Chris between 1989 and 2002 to create these prints that share the same concerns as Berthot's paintings and works on paper.
While all the prints presented here are etchings, most were created using Jake's own unique technique. Some have elements of aquatint and drypoint, while others employ roulette or scraping to mark the plate. Jake would make different grounds with incompatible materials - painting with paint thinner, water or both, sometimes with aquatint sometimes without. He painted on the plate as though it were a painting; he scratched through the painted surface to make marks before putting the plate in the acid. Sometimes the grounds were not dry on the plate surface when it went into the acid, so it would break down in a random way.
It felt like an experiment each time, but Jake had made his own etchings in the past and knew what method would give him the surface he was after. It was unorthodox, but it was never out of his control. I don't think he had a preconceived idea, but he understood exactly what he was doing.
The eight prints with the large lozenge-shaped focal point were each created using the same key plate. To alter and individualize each print, Jake would add additional plates that were mostly aquatint. He changed the color and plate order to explore variation.
As a group, it's a perfect example of how manipulating the printing of a few plates can expand the possibilities of one image into many.
My intentions for the piece determine how I build the grid. A painting cannot exist without presence or gaze. If I'm concerned with presence, I build a shape with a different intention than if I'm concerned with gaze. In each, I work with and combine three different grid systems: ratio, warped and perspective. I also use and am aware of the tension Cezanne creates through the unseen, but felt, diagonal.
I begin every work with the grid. I wouldn't know how to make it any other way. It is like I'm carving the space out and it is totally systemic. This is how I start everything that I do, whether it's a skull drawing, a tree, or a landscape. They start in a bare-bones way, and then become increasingly packed.
We are very grateful to Simmelink Sukimoto for giving the Estate and the Gallery the opportunity to present these works. As it is our interest to share Jake's work with the world, we are offering each print at $500 for the duration of the Online Viewing Room.
Jake Berthot was born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1939. He attended the New School for Social Research and Pratt Institute in the early 1960s. The artist held teaching positions at Cooper Union, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and The School of Visual Arts. He received a number of awards and grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981, a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1983 and an Academy Institute Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992. In 2016, the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC mounted a solo show of the artist’s work, Jake Berthot: From the Collection and Promised Gifts. Berthot’s work can be seen in a host of notable museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, all in New York City. Nationally, his work is in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; and the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.