Artist Q&A: Lee Newman

For anyone who missed Lee’s artist talk last weekend on his current exhibition, Glimpse, here’s a bit of what you missed.  This one isn’t a true Q&A, but Lee wrote us a very nice statement covering all the questions we would have asked, so read on, and enjoy!

When I decided to expand my show beyond current work, it freed me up to pull pieces from a variety of periods in my life. Nevertheless, it was still a challenge to edit the show and put up works or alternate states that few people have seen before. I excluded many experimental plates as well as monotypes and lithographs.  The drawings also needed to be pared down so that they can make suitable points and comparisons to the prints with which they are associated.

Alzheimer Head 1 by Lee Newman, drypoint and roulette, 2002

Subject matter is chosen in two ways: by accident or by design. For me, printmaking has been a vehicle for portraying the human figure, and the head in particular. The portrait head is the perfect vehicle for trying new expressive ideas and techniques as well as for understanding plastic form. Even heads drawn in the most cursory manner are important to my work. After the human figure, the other forms of subject matter that have fallen across my path…landscape and still life. The exhibit attempts to show the full range of subjects and themes that have occupied me for the past thirty years. Eaters in fast food restaurants/metaphors for a consumer society, anthropomorphic landscapes, un-still still lifes, and people anxiously waiting are a few of the themes that have occupied me.

On technique: Drypoint is direct and portable. One can take the drypoint needle

Cambridge by Lee Newman, drypoint and roulette, 1998

out into the field of battle to jot down one’s impressions directly. The grinding stone on an electric drill is another form of drypoint, but it is more bombastic. It makes deep, dark areas of tone if the drill is held in one place and dots if it is allowed to skitter across the surface of the plate. I enjoy its unpredictable qualities.

As for current work, I’m taking a hiatus from printmaking and returning to painting for a bit. I so identify with the painter/printmakers of past like Rembrandt, Goya, Whistler, Morandi, Corinth, Cassatt,  and Munch.

Lee Newman’s solo exhibition, Glimpse, is up through November 28.  WPG is closed Thanksgiving Day, but open the rest of the weekend.  Bring your out-of-town guests to enjoy this wonderful show!


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