monprints

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beatuty at MOMA

April 6, 2016
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Recently I went to NYC for my friend Mary Diodardo’s opening at Kathryn Markel Fine Art (see April 5th post). While in New York I was fortunate to see the new MOMA exhibit, Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty.

Edgar Degas, Landscape with Rocks (1892).Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

Edgar Degas, Landscape with Rocks (1892). Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibit is about monotypes as well as experimentation, transformation and repetition. And, because monotypes are one of my favorite forms of printing, well, I was over the moon! Through his monotypes, Degas captured the idea of movement and created new ways to portray urban life of the 19th Century. It’s a wonderful exhibit dedicated to how his experimental mark-making used in creating monotypes freed him from tradition. The exhibit focuses on Degas’s process of exploring/manipulating materials and includes more than 120 monotypes together with related paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints.

One of the fun things about the exhibit are the magnifying glasses made available. They encourage the viewer to look closely at each image  – see the wonderful details of Degas’s fingerprints and smushes.  Look, see how his landscapes are created with a swipe of his finger.

The exhibit also shows how Degas often would pull two or three impressions of the same plate, this leads to a degradation of the image with each print.  The image would be the same but different.  Often he would use the second and third images as an under-layer for pastels.

I came away so inspired by Degas’ process and his passion for materials and experimentation.  I’m heading into the studio to make some monoprints!

Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints organized the exhibit with Karl Buchberg, Senior Conservator, Heidi Hirschl, Curatorial Assistant, The Museum of Modern Art, and Richard Kendall, independent art historian and curator.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty runs through Sunday, July 24, 2016. I hope you get to see the exhibit.

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You can read about my monoprint experiments in a previous post, The Art of the Monoprint – The Process (April 22, 2015).

A definition: A monoprint or monotype is created by applying print ink or paint directly to a plate. A single print is created by transferring an image that has been painted onto a plate and transferred to paper. Or, you can cover the plate with ink/paint and selectively remove the ink/paint to create an image. It’s about process and experimentation. It is a spontaneous technique that lends itself to immediacy and experimenting with a wide variety of materials, papers, transfer techniques and plates. A monoprint is often used as a starting point to rework and revise the original image.

Cheers!!

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The Art of the Monoprint – The Process

April 22, 2015
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In the Studio-close up of monoprint process

In the Studio – close up of monoprints in process.

A monoprint is a single print created by transferring an image that has been painted onto a plate and transferred to paper. I love the process of monoprinting. It is a spontaneous technique that lends itself to experimenting with a wide variety of materials, papers, transfer techniques and plates.

The plate is the surface you paint on. Traditionally, plates include metal, wood, glass and plexi, to name a few. Up until I discovered gelatin plates (or Gelli Arts® plates which is the manufactured gelatin plate) I used a piece of plexi for my plate. Please note that permission was received to use the Gelli® or Gelli Arts® trademark, which is owned by Gelli Arts® LLC).

Photo of gelli plate and monoprints in process

In the Studio – close up-working with gelli plate (on left of photo) to create monoprints.

My process involves rolling ink onto the plate with a brayer. Or, applying paint to the plate and building layers through multiple transfers. The transfer of the image from the plate to the paper is done by hand, or with a press. By layering stencils, creating textures from everyday objects and masking out areas of the plate, the image quickly takes shape. To complete the monoprint I often incorporate pastels, paint or glue on torn papers and materials to the print. Continuing to develop it with free and spontaneous methods until I feel that the print is done.

In the Studio. Photo of working process and finished print

In the Studio-close up of monoprints in process with sketchbook and finished print on right.

Here are four new monoprints, inspired by recent visits to gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Now available in the shop.

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