Regarding Intaglios

Working on copper plate demands an ever increasing effort to eliminate any sense of chance and replace it in every dot and line with an authoritative air of necessity. My most important teachers are the northern renaissance masters of engraving – Durer and Lucas van Leiden. I observe in their work a driving commitment to show their dream of the world with unrelenting precision. This is not the plodding precision of collectors of details; it is the boundless munificence of generous givers. Their works are the most reliable maps to even the least fjord of their vast continents. I strain to follow their dedication, their dependable devotion to the morphology of a persistent vision.

Every part of a graphic vision should have some potent connection to the passionate heart of the world. Nothing may linger in neutrality; every object has to be shown instead in its ecstatic, elevated, utmost state of being. Trees should nearly burst with sap, tables stand taut and tense, feet should take pleasure in grounding, earth ripple like horse’s flank. These amplifications should return the viewer to the powerful revelations of the original meetings with reality.

My vision is of a fecund, over-bounding, living world, abundant in its growing, surprising in its dizzying variety, enormously telling in its smallest detail and vastly mysterious in its connectedness. The slow, controlled work of the engraving gives me ,outside of painting, the most promising way of conveying that vision.

My intaglios show places and scenes on the periphery of the known, places on the margin, behind the weed patch, unnamed topographies. I show them in carefully observed and lovingly rendered details-but they are not specific locations. They are elemental sites like states of the spirit. Places that are central and well known have been claimed and acclaimed already. Periphery lures my attention because it is not over-esteemed, over-handled, given over to be mythic fictions that intrude between us and the immediacy of the world. Familiarity makes things less visible; the habitual imposes deadening of senses, lulling us into a waking slumber. A poet has to capture words like untamed horses, in their wild states. I teach my heart to look at the splendor of the world stripped of habituation, freshly emergent, glistening, just out of the amniotic pond of Being.

                                                                       Henryk Fantazos