From Sept. 5 through Sept. 29, the Wagner College Gallery will host “Portraits in Mezzotint,” an exhibition of work by Brooklyn-based artist Kirsten Flaherty. An artist’s reception will be held on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to both the reception and the exhibition, which are free. The gallery is located in the Union Building on the Wagner campus at 631 Howard Ave., Staten Island.
Using the 375-year-old art of mezzotint, Kirsten Flaherty created a series of portraits that concentrate on the personalities of animals. The artist focused on developing portraits of the American pit bull terrier, hoping to reverse the negative stereotype often associated with this misunderstood and stigmatized animal.
Through her portraits of pit bulls, Flaherty conveys the soft emotions of the animal through delicate tones and detail. She utilizes the historical portraiture technique of mezzotint to bring alive the individual personality of each canine. The works inform viewers of the gentle nature of these hounds and further try to amend and alleviate the cultural stigma of the pit bull.
Mezzotint (from the Italian word “mezzo,” meaning “half,” and “tinta,” meaning “tone”) is a form of intaglio, or engraving, that has been used since the 17th century. The medium affords a uniquely rich variety of tones and subtle gradations that allows for the creation of photorealistic imagery not possible with any other printmaking process. Because of this, mezzotint became popular as a method of reproducing portraits and paintings by the 18th century. Those portraits often depicted royal or historical figures, becoming especially popular with the British elite. Thirteen mezzotint portraits by Flaherty will be included in this exhibition, including a mezzotint plate in five different stages of development.
Kirsten Flaherty lives and works in New York as a printmaker and freelancer. She has worked at various nonprofit institutions, including the International Print Center New York, Dieu Donné Papermill and Manhattan Graphics Center. Flaherty serves on the board of directors of the New York Society of Etchers, and she has curated multiple fundraising exhibitions to benefit various nonprofit organizations. More information can be found on the artist’s website, kirstenflaherty.com.
One-fourth of the proceeds from all sales from this exhibition will be donated to the New York Bully Crew, a not-for-profit organization that specializes in rescuing pit bulls.
The Wagner Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday until 9 p.m.
For more information, please call 917-678-2542.