Vanishing II (Rusty Patched Bumblebee)


Vanishing II (Rusty-Patched Bumblebee) is a mezzotint with hand applied color from 2020 by American artist Holly Downing. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 1/25 in the lower margin. Vanishing II was printed by the artist on antique-white Rives BFK paper and the image measures 3 x 3" platemark.

Vanishing II (Rusty-Patched Bumblebee) is from a series of ten mezzotints that feature vanishing species, in this case, invertebrates. Rusty patched bumble bees once occupied grasslands and tallgrass prairies of the Upper Midwest and Northeast but most grasslands and prairies have been lost. Rusty patched bumble bees have declined by 87 percent in the past twenty years. Downing wrote about creating this series: “Getting to know these endangered insects a bit has been somewhat uplifting in this dark time, even though they are at the forefront of the ‘insect apocalypse’.”

Holly Downing, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in San Francisco in 1948. She earned her B.A. at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. She also studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and earned her MFA from Goddard College where she researched mezzotint technique. She taught art for twenty-three years at the Santa Rosa Junior College and also taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.

Downing has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Greenshields Foundation, Canada; the Arts Council of Great Britain; the Graham Foundation, Chicago; and the San Francisco Phelan Foundation. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London.

Her work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum; Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford; Scottish National Art Gallery, Edinburgh; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Chi-ba Art Museum and Nakasatsunai Art Museum, Japan; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Stanford University Art Museum. Downing's mezzotints are featured in The Mezzotint, History and Technique by Carol Wax, 1990.

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