...Or Not Enough?

Last week I showed you a print where I had felt I had gone overboard with the detail.

                                2014-09-01+13.25.12.jpg (1095×1600)

To me the work felt like it was in limbo. I should have either drawn nothing at all, or gone all-out and covered the piece with meticulous drawings. I tried the latter, but didn't like where it was going, so I abandoned it.

As I looked at the work again, I couldn't bring myself to discard it altogether. Layered prints take a lot of time and thought to create, and I'd hate to waste the time and materials on a botched work. Moreover, some of the most interesting layered prints I've created developed out of mistakes. Studying this print, I saw the opportunity to try something new.

The problem was that there was too much concentrated detail in the foreground. What I needed to do was tone it down and restore some of the smoky haziness that the print had before I started drawing all over it. After thinking over a few possibilities, I decided to go back to the beginning and print an intaglio monotype over it. I didn't want the new monotype to be completely opaque, so I applied to ink with my finger, allowing me to massage it into the plate before I started drawing. I didn't draw the silo this time, but a couple of sycamore leaves because they have great silhouettes. By this point the print was so far removed to me from its original silo source that it didn't matter whether the new monotype related to it.

After I ran the print through the press, I pulled it up and saw this:

Frankly I wasn't sure how well this would turn out, but I became very excited when I pulled this image. The meticulous drawing is still discernible, but is not longer an overbearing distraction. Instead of overpowering the rest of the print, it is now just another element in a swirling configuration of line, shape, color, and texture.

Indeed, what I really like about this image is the way in which it abstracts the drawing. You can still see the detailed line work, but you're not entirely sure what it is that you're seeing. It could be representational, or it could simply be an assemblage of lines with no reference to the material world. More than other works I've created, I feel that this piece really shifts back and forth between representational and abstraction, and quite frankly, I see a lot of potential for future work in this direction.

My interest extends beyond formal qualities, moreover.  I feel it captures the sense of perceptual murkiness that I think we all experience to some degree. How much of this life and its infinite vastness, really, do we actually comprehend? How attuned are we to our surroundings? Do we see and understand everything with crystal clarity, or, to bring up Plato's cave analogy, are we really living in a mental cavern, receiving limited glimmers of the world that lies beyond our immediate comprehension? To me, the print's layered nature, with each layer blurring into one another, exemplifies our often muddled, complex relationship to the world, and it's something I'd like to explore further.

Indeed, I was so excited that I went ahead and printed the monotype's ghost, with the intention of creating a similar work. I don't know whether it will turn out looking like the other one, but any development that get me riled up artistically is always worth exploring.