Sea Levels

Event Details

The Captain's Lookout, 4"x4", mezzotint, 2016

Laine Groeneweg

March 2nd, 2018 to April 14th, 2018
Opening: March 2nd, 5-8 p.m.

Artist talk*: Saturday March 3rd, 3 p.m.
*ASL interpretation available

*If you are interested in attending the artist talk on March 3rd and require ASL interpretation, please reach us at or 204 779-6253 at least 48 hours before the event.

all events are free and open to the public


Having grown up by mountains and prairies, Laine Groeneweg depicts the mysteries of the ocean in the exhibition Sea Levels with dreamy underwater intaglio scenes. 

Traditional printmaking has the ability to fully embrace both the world of art and that of craft. For Groeneweg, working in print is as much a means of production as it is a source of inspiration and preservation. In his recent work, oceans have been a major source of inspiration. As with all large bodies of water, oceans represent unique visual landscapes captured through a rich and colourful history of imagery and narrative. Inspired by these elements, Sea Levels reflects a very personal interpretation of the vast and often mystical power of the ocean. Groeneweg has been exploring and experimenting with different printmaking techniques to convey his own visual rendition of seascapes as somebody who has seldom experienced it first-hand. Inspired by stories, objects, and the landscape of the ocean, Sea Levels is woven together as a nautical tapestry.


Laine Groeneweg is a printmaker currently living in Hamilton, Ontario. He received his BFA from York University in 2004 and subsequently trained as a professional printmaker at Fondazione II Bisonte Per Lo Studio Dell'Arte Grafica in Florence, Italy.

Groeneweg is most widely recognized for his work in mezzotint and etching, and exploring the possibilities of traditional technique in the wake of more contemporary production methods. His whimsical imagery is often characterized by themes of dream and play. His prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally in Australia, Russia, Japan, Finland, Italy, Taiwan, and the United States.

Currently, Groeneweg has focused his attention towards building a custom print studio, Smokestack, in Hamilton, Ontario. He also instructs and editions work for other artists at Toronto's Open Studio and is the studio technician at Centre[3] For Print and Media Arts in Hamilton.


The artist would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for their support. 

Martha Street Studio gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council for their dedicated support of our professional programming.


Sea Levels: The work of Laine Groeneweg
text by Ted Howorth

Laine Groeneweg’s exhibition Sea Levels contains 25 pieces that use the print media of mezzotint, dry-point and soft ground etching. The artist/printmaker’s labour is explicit in their making; reflecting the traditions of craft in the creation.

Although Groeneweg has had a history of working in the digital world and still enters it in many parts of his production, his current interests are very much grounded in the physical world of analog. It is that historical world of the analog that guides the nature and narrative of his art.

His narrative speaks to the antiquity of Cabinet Cards of the late nineteenth century. The classic staging and composition found in this form of photographic portraiture offers a framework for the mood of his mezzotints. Mezzotint offers its own sense of mystery. There is an inherent noir quality in mezzotints that creates both a darkness of mood and the physical darkness created by the chiaroscuro light of life. 

Groeneweg wants his prints to reflect the love of craft as well as the love of art in his work, noting that his “work speaks to the strengths found in the process of traditional print media.” He enjoys the dedication to labour and problem solving found in the traditions of printmaking. Working on models as a kid has influenced his passion for the intimate scale that is found in image-making on a copper etching plate. The small scale of these pieces draws the viewer into examining the meticulous detail and the emotional connection within his stories. 

Sea Levels takes the viewer into the underwater world of the ocean. It is a world that is a part of our life on earth and yet can be as foreign to us as outer space. For children, it is the world of fantasy and adventure. It is a world of strange and fanciful creatures, and it is a world where we can fly with the rules of gravity reversed.

Groeneweg considers all the elements of production: the colour and tone of black, the way that a plate is wiped, and the inherent nature of the paper used to accept the image. Hahnemühle Copperplate paper accepts the lush velvety blacks of mezzotint like none other and thin Gampi tissue accepts the direct marks of dry-point as skin might accept tattoos. Everything contributes to the final piece. Additionally, the physicality of direct and committed mark-making with evidence of original human thought and error all add to the print’s tactile presence. It is the work of a printmaker’s printmaker.

From the inner mind of Laine Groeneweg, this show is “inspired by a dream. Sea Levels has come to represent an intriguing underwater playground where multitudes of sea creatures harmoniously co-exist. This whimsical setting is reminiscent of nautical folklore and serves as the reference point for my imagery.”


Glossary of print terms:

Dry-point is a direct form of engraved mark-making that raises a burr in the copper. This burr will also retain some ink during the wiping of the plate.

Mezzotint creates tones rather than lines. First, the plate is roughened by a rocker covering the entire surface with a burr that holds ink. Various tones of light are then worked into the darkened surface with scrapers and burnishers. This creates the appearance of light falling on an image. 

Soft ground etching can emulate the physical appearance of soft lines. A sticky resist covers the print plate. Then, a thin paper is placed over the resist. Any pressure from drawing marks that are applied to the paper will lift the ground from the plate and adhere to the underside of the paper. The plate is then submerged into an acid bath that eats into the open image areas of the resist. The areas etched by the acid hold the ink while printing.


E.J. (Ted) Howorth’s passion has been printmaking throughout most of his artistic career. Apprenticed under Wilfredo Arcay of Atelier Arcay in Paris, he has worked in many international print studios and exhibited in numerous international juried print biennales. In 1995 Howorth was appointed to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Date and Time

Mar 02, 2018Apr 14, 2018, 5:00 PM - 5:15 PM