Wildness & Process by Unai San Martin / by Kat Howard

While perusing the artists who have pieces in the collection at the Kala Art Institute, I came upon the work of Unai San Martin. Martin is a Bay Area artist who hails from the Basque region of Spain, who focuses his practice on the photogravure technique. It is a 19th century process that creates a highly detailed intaglio print, which emulates the same continuous tone and exactness of a photograph. The result is a haunting image that straddles the line between an etching and a photograph, at once eerily precise while maintaining a soft, rich focus. I was particularly struck by his landscape series that depict paths through various stretches of wilderness. They seem meditative on the act of traveling, as if to remind the viewer to focus on the road instead of the horizon line. Living in Northern California, I feel like I'm constantly trying to capture fog through the lens of my digital SLR, only to find it slip through my fingers (pun intended).

The fact that Martin manages to articulate these atmospheric ghosts in his prints, makes his images, and the craft of photogravure, that much more astonishing. His work makes me think about how else an artist can capture imprints of fleeting experiences, and make casts of moments in time.

Miwok Trail by Unai San Martin

Camino al Vacio by Unai San Martin

Eucalyptus Path by Unai San Martin