July 5–29, 2018,
21st Century Caprichos:
A portfolio of etchings by Curt Belshe
with an Artist’s Reception, Saturday, July 7, 3:00–6:00 p.m.
Kurt was the winner of the 2017 National Small Works competition.
The exhibition is a reinterpretation of Francisco Goya’s famous etchings, Los Caprichos. Goya’s 80 prints were published in 1799, as a condemnation of the universal follies and foolishness of Spanish society at that time. Goya’s work described the predominance of superstition and the decline of rationality. The work is noted for its titles printed below each etching, that helped explain his cryptic intentions.
Two hundred years later, Curt Belshe’s prints tackle the current shifts in culture. The series concentrates on the posturing, etiquette, and social interactions of our 21st century digital lives. Whether it is taking selfies, texting while driving, online bullying, or sexting, our digital lives are challenging the established norms in our civilized society. Belshe’s series of Goya-inspired prints are its own tour-de-force critique of contemporary life.
Technically, the series of prints are quite involved. At first glance, the prints resemble the original Goya etchings. Curt begins by creating a series of 3D figures showing them involved in digital activities. The figures are photographed in a variety of groupings that mimic the original Goya prints either by structure or title of the capricho. The photos are manipulated in Adobe Photoshop creating backgrounds and recreating the traditional aquatint quality used by Goya. The image is printed on film positive, exposed to a light-sensitive photo-polymer plate and printed traditionally as an etching.
The artist, Curt Belshe, lives in Peekskill, New York and is a Professor of Digital Arts at the Bronx Community College, part of the City University of New York. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.He has exhibited prints throughout America and has a print (Four Freedoms) in the current internationally traveling exhibition, Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms, that will be Washington early in 2019. He has shown throughout the New York Metro area, and has received numerous grants and awards from New York art agencies, including CUNY Research grants, for the creation of public and private art works. He has had solo shows featuring his prints and photographs in Washington DC, Brooklyn, and the Westchester Arts Workshop in White Plain.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Washington Print Foundation and Washington Printmakers Gallery. The Foundation promotes fine-art printmaking by fostering the creation and appreciation of contemporary artist-made prints through education, exhibition, and community outreach programs.