The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
January 16th - May 20th, 2018
Dox Thrash, Saturday Night, c. 1944-45, etching. Courtesy of Dolan/Maxwell.
Dox Thrash, Cabin with a Star in the Window, c. 1944–45, carborundum mezzotint, proof reworked in ink. Private collection, image courtesy of Dolan/Maxwell.
Image: Penn State
In 1937, Thrash signed on for employment with the Federal Art Project’s Fine Print Workshop. There, while working with fellow artists Hugh Mesibov and Michael Gallagher, he began to experiment with a new approach to intaglio printmaking, which today is known as the carborundum mezzotint process. With its broad tonal range, the new process was ideally suited to the sensitive portrayals of Black life for which Thrash would become known.
Dox Thrash, Black Life, and the Carborundum Mezzotint brings together numerous examples of the experimental process by Thrash and other colleagues working in the Fine Print Workshop. Also on view are works by Thrash in other print mediums, as well as watercolors and drawings, all of which powerfully document the artist’s intimate, invested engagement with African American culture in the middle decades of the twentieth century.Dox Thrash, "Life," c. 1938–39, carborundum mezzotint, 10 7/8 x 8 13/16 inches.
Dox Thrash, "Defense Worker", c. Carborundum mezzotint over etched guidelines