The influence of film noir, as well as tributes to Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic techniques, can be seen in some of the prints in “Art Werger — etchings and mezzotints.” Werger’s artwork is in The Garver Gallery, 18 S. Bedford St., Suite 318, and is the featured exhibit through Saturday.
Werger’s narrative mezzotints portray realistic scenes as viewed from unusual angles to evoke a dream-like detachment from the events for the viewer. The images put the viewer into an all-knowing/all-seeing position as the subjects are often observed from an oblique aerial angle or from an objective distance.
“All of my work involves a level of voyeurism or intrusion,” Werger said in his Garver Gallery artist’s statement. “I want my images to create a tension based on phobic response, whether it’s a fear of falling or drowning. I want to elicit an active response to the representational image. Rather than intending to comfort the viewer, I want to challenge preconceptions.”
Although he studied illustration and painting at the Rhode Island Institute for Design, Werger switched to printmaking more than 30 years ago and is now a professor in the printmaking program at Ohio University. He works primarily in the media of etching and mezzotint because he enjoys the processes that permanently fix the images onto a metal surface.
A technique used for the reproduction of paintings in the 17th to early 19th centuries, mezzotint involves engraving a copper or steel plate. The surface of the plate is partially roughened for shading, and/or partially scraped smooth for light areas.