Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two New Prints (with details)!

Finally got a few prints finished and documented! Above is what I will probably end up with the title Wyoming Triptych. Begun and mostly printed by hand at Jentel, with the final layer of sky printed in my home studio. It's a reduction block, though now that I think about it, a bit of an odd twist on the concept. Reduction printing involves printing the most general, background color first, and carving away more and more material from the same block and printing successive, more specific layers. Typically, the first layer is the background, negative space, or sky color. Any paper surface that does become part of the image is usually negative or white space.
However, I wanted my handmade paper to have a presence in the image, particularly since this paper is such a lovely, delicate blue. So the landscape is the paper itself, and the section of sky is reduced.
Today I was loaned a book called How to be Sick, A Buddhist Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers. The loan has interesting timing; last night I watched a PBS documentary on the life of Prince Siddhartha, the man who became the Buddha. I haven't started reading it yet, but I was intrigued by one quote I came across while flipping through, "Let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to stare at the pool....You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still." (Ajahn Chah) Stillness...at least in mind. I'm trying to hold on to this image. While in Wyoming, I kept feeling that the landscape had restorative capabilities, which is why I placed Robert within it. After I finished this print I found myself thinking about how cows have taken over what was once the land of the buffalo, and how sacred and revered the buffalo were to the Native Americans.
This print is called Cows and Corn, though the corn is the fiber of which the paper is made. The cows were such lovely dark shapes in the blue landscape. My arrival in Wyoming coincided with a re-reading of The Omnivore's Dilemma. I was caught up in Michael Pollan's discussion of corn as the basis for our food system. It's fed to cows, chickens, pigs, even farmed fish, transformed into flakes, syrup, xanthan gum, flour, diapers, dextrose, maltodextrin, MSG, mono-glycerides,di-glycerides, ethanol, plastic substitutes, wallboard, adhesives, batteries, ink, paint, pharmaceuticals...I could go on. So this print is an abbreviated version of that - corn as the basis for our meat-based food system, corn fiber is the substrate for this print of cows.


Dan Larkin said...

Nice to see it finished, love them cows. Hope you're holding up under the strain. I miss you and send positive energy and warm thoughts!

Rocinante Press said...

Aw, Dan, I miss you too! Thanks!