I work mostly in encaustic, which brings luminosity and optical richness to the small color fields I paint. I’ve been working in this medium for 20 years, recently on a textile-inflected series called Silk Road, so I know what pigmented wax is capable of. And more to the point, I know how to make it do what I want it to do.
My challenge for the Pull project was to translate into ink what I know about luminosity, materiality and chromatic richness. Color was the easy part: Using two plates, I printed a scrim of transparent blue-green ink over a more opaque ground of yellow-green, so the emerald color you see is actually created in your own retina as you peer through the top hue into the one below it. But how could I make a medium that is designed to sink into the fibers of the paper do what paint does, which is to sit as a film on top? Knowing little about printmaking, I came up with intaglio plates whose ridges were so deeply incised that, in fact, I ended up with something of the tangible surface I’m used to. Beginner’s luck! As in my paintings, one layer of color is skewed at 90 degrees to the one beneath it—a grid with the suggestion of woven fabric. I called the print Soie, silk, to acknowledge this connection.
The rotation of plates did not stop there. At the suggestion of our master printer, Tim McDowell, I turned my square plates 45 degrees to print them as a diamond. Because everything we do as artists is connected, the print that came from my square plates has spawnedDiamond Life, a new series of paintings oriented on the same axis.