Over the past year, I’ve been working on various uses of the multiple – exploring ways in which the repeatability of printmaking will allow for the depiction of collections, juxtaposition, movement, and the passage of time.
The recently finished experimental portfolio, “The Aging of Mark Twain on One Copper Plate” is a study of the icon, aging, and time. The youngest portrait of the writer is a drypoint and aquatint on copper. The subsequent portraits are each etched over the burnished earlier images – all on the same plate. As a result, a progressive ambient “history” accumulates, revealing visible shadows of the past that themselves fade with each impression.
While choosing an icon, like Mark Twain, fits within the greater plan for next summer’s show at Wally Workman, I think if I were to try this concept again, it would be nice to choose someone not-famous, whose face not everyone can recognize. By simplifying the project in this way, the focus would fall more on the themes of time, change, and the life of an unknown subject, and less on the question of likeness, or our preformed ideas about the legacy of a historical hero.
What: The Aging of Mark Twain on One Copper Plate
Where: five etchings in sepia/black on Somerset in a gray/black portfolio
When: June – October 2011
Ambiance: a chronicle of bow-tie fashion trends between 1850 and 1910