To do this series of mezzotints, I asked friends for photos of their mothers and grandmothers. I met and sketched some of the elderly women in person. Others, who have long since passed away, I learned about through photos and stories written by family members. Their journeys are testaments to their simple yet extraordinary lives.
I tried to capture in their faces a long life of personal achievements with dignified and almost unemotional expressions. I saw in them a common denominator of other women’s faces from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. My intention, as well, was to represent these so-called ordinary and unknown women as ageless figures and reflect in them a sense of pride and importance to which only their peers and family would otherwise be privy.
The mezzotint medium provides wide tonality with rich blacks, giving Fausti’s portraits great presence and depth. Each depicts a range of visual characteristics unique to each subject as a person, and as a carrier of cultural tradition. The labor intensive mezzotint process is analogous to the long, often difficult lives of these women.
But the process alone does not explain their strength. Fausti’s drawing, sensitivity to edge, attention to surface patterns on each face and subtle details on clothing and jewelry, involve us in reading their lives, as we read each print’s surface. Fausti engages us while going beyond a physical likeness or stereotype of beauty, much as we go through life itself: reading others’ faces for meaning, evaluating character.
Extract from essay by John Morrell, Ageless Exhibition Catalog, 2010
Chair and Associate Professor of Painting
Department of Art and Art History
These mezzotints focus on portraits of Buddhists novices and monks encountered during my travels throughout Southeast Asia. The photogravures provide the physical context and environment in which they live.
I represent these figures as I saw them in their daily lives: both young and old, some with distinct features while others appear luminescent and soft as if dissolving into thin air. Over time it’s not hard to identify yourself with the values inherent in the daily practices of these ascetics monks: that reality as perceived is in a constant state of flux, both changing and changeless. Beyond their practices, I hope to convey with their portraits not just their innate sense of calmness but also their humanity. We all share this life and are all likewise subject to its fleeting moments.
The prints of Eduardo Fausti are a sublime marriage of process and concept in which the mezzotint technique inspires as well as supports his imagery.
The portraits in Eduardo Fausti’s prints are of people from cultures that are slowly being rubbed out of existence in the wake of societal changes. Their soft, almost out-of-focus faces are rendered as ghostly remnants looming in the mist, their eroded textures visible but just barely. In some images, faceless silhouettes remind us that something is missing and must be missed.
While many mezzotint engravers use the medium’s ability to render dramatic lighting effects to make bold statements, Fausti’s prints of Buddhist monks use delicate mark making, nuance, and suggestion to evoke a spiritual atmosphere. There is a Zen-like quality in his approach to subject as well as to technique, in that both mezzotint and a monk’s life require strength and submission to process.
...Fausti's mezzotints are like a Buddhist's enigmatic koan in that what he has removed from the plate is what he beckons us to remember.
Extract from Erasing to Remember by Carol Wax, Impermanence Exhibition Catalog, 2011
This series explores the relationship between culture and nature. The images are derived from observations of our connections to the natural world and are a means to visually investigate botanical wonders. The prints, most of them of solitary trees from different geographical regions, are meant to offer detailed features captioned with their scientific names. These Latin names reveal our endless attempts to make sense of and find order in the natural world. Centuries of accumulated knowledge along with recent discoveries in science demonstrate the impact our actions have on our planet’s fragile ecosystem.
HIGH HORIZON AND VASTNESS PAINTING SERIES
These series deal with semi-abstract renditions of landscapes depicting great spaces mostly undisturbed by human affairs. They were inspired by the geography of Southeast Asia, which I learned of thanks to many trips to the region. In them we find rice paddies, large lakes, big skies, volcanoes, rivers and cloud formations. The elevated virtual horizon line in most of these paintings allows the viewer to experience them from the vantage point of a bird's eye. My approach with these paintings coincides in manner with many Asian artist depictions of landscapes over the centuries, including the multiple ways of seeing found in Chinese scrolls and some Japanese ukiyo-e's. With their broader vantage points and spacious terrains, these landscapes offer a particular visual examination.
In an interconnected world in which distances seem to be shortened and new communications bring us closer by the day, this series with its particular ways of seeing landscapes seems appropriate given the common trust and responsibility we each have for the care of our natural habitats. They represent a natural world that moves the viewer between exhilaration and tranquility.