Indirectly Attached

Many of my prints from 2013 and later have focused on the theme of connection. While several pieces from the Plus a Century portfolio are focused on the interaction between mother and child or between children, after two years focused mostly on isolated portraits, it took some time to coax my figures back into each other’s picture planes.

The gradual process began with a series of prints in which garlands, ivy, and bunting were used to metaphorically depict the character of our relationships to one another. This physical link between figures could be restraining, loosely held, tied in knots, etc… to show the different ways in which we experience attachments to others.

Ironically, this series still started with many compositions in which there is only one figure. In the series Lightly Attached, the girl’s connection with the outside world is understood only through the presence of the threads that exit the plate mark. The diptychs Girl and Garland I & II, and Girl and Silver I & II, present two girls each, connected by a commonly held ivy garland and silver filament, but the prints themselves are on separate sheets of paper, meant to be hung on either side of a doorway or other central object.

It was not until these plates evolved into the Indirectly Attached series of limited-palette diptychs that multiple figures began to join each other in the same print, and even so, a half-inch of white space between plate marks remains.

Over time, the commonly held link between figures evolved into painterly abstraction—the ivy garland and flag bunting giving way to open areas left on the plate, an almost blank slate for future monoprinted visual storytelling, added just before printing.  With Lightly Attached, I explored this idea through a series of forty monoprints, each with a different handling of the depicted attachment. In some of the prints, the heaviness of the rope-like mass of bluish purple presents a figure handling a great burden, while other arrangements tell lighter, freer, or more tangled stories.

As this visual language of connection and separation evolved, experimenting with the arrangements of plates, figures, white space, and thread would lead Indirectly Attached to become a book project, while the introduction of selected color and game systems would lead to a deck of 52 cards and accompanying games of network-building.