Pellissippi State art exhibit features black-and-white prints made with mezzotint technique

A mezzotint print by artist Jacob Crook
Artist Jacob Crook uses the mezzotint technique to create haunting images of vacant interiors and nocturnal landscapes.

Mezzotint prints created by artist Jacob Crook are on display at Pellissippi State Community College through Sept. 24, and the public is invited to enjoy the show. 

The free exhibit is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pellissippi State encourages the wearing of masks in indoor spaces. 

Crook, assistant professor of art and printmaking coordinator at Mississippi State University, works primarily in the intaglio printmaking technique of mezzotint, invented in 1642. This process achieves tonality – a range of tones in a work of visual art – by roughening a metal plate with a metal tool called a rocker. The rocker has a beveled, serrated, curved edge with many tiny teeth that create innumerable tiny indentations and burrs that hold ink during the printing process. Ink is rubbed into the varieties of textures and the excess wiped away, gradually revealing the image. 

“The fully rocked areas that are left alone produce a rich, velvety blank print, and areas that are scraped and burnished to varying degrees of smoothness will hold less ink, producing lighter value,” Crook explained. “Essentially the image is created in a reductive manner by ‘erasing’ the roughened areas to create areas of light.” 

Mezzotint of an empty alley
Nightrise IV is just one of the mezzontint prints by Jacob Crook on display at Pellissippi State through Sept. 24.

Crook’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among others. His works also are displayed in academic institutions and private collections. 

“The quality of light cast into a space has the potential to bring poetry to the prosaic, magic to the mundane and beauty to the banal,” Crook said. “The light spilling through these nocturnal landscapes and vacant interiors serves as a sort of spotlight, transforming the scenes into empty stage sets, either soon to be entered or perhaps long abandoned, suggesting the possibility of untold narratives that are just out of reach.  

“My intent is not to tell a story directly, but to set the stage in such a way that viewers are compelled to consider the moments before and after the one presented based on their own associations with the imagery,” he added. 

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. 

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