The Development of an Artistic Voice, Part 5… The Stratum Series and changing mediums

stratum print
Untitled, Intaglio Print, 4 1/2″ x 11 3/4″ on 15 1/2″ x 22″ paper, 2002

One thing that I discovered while working on this series is that I really enjoy taking the same basic imagery and moving it through a variety of mediums.

That is exactly what I did in the print above. I hade been making prints for a few years but in this work I was striving to find a way of taking the layering process I was using in my acrylic and pastel paintings and referencing it in my print making. Of course the mediums are very different an ultimately the final product looks very different. But, this is exactly the transformation I like- exploring what happens when an idea moves to a different medium. In this process, I paint hard ground (a resist that keeps the acid from eating the plate) onto the copper plate and submerge it into the acid. I then take it out clean it and repeat the process. Eventually, I end up with a plate will print like the image above. The plate is also deeply etched which means the paper embosses in addition to prints.

Untitled, charcoal on paper, 2002

In the drawing on the right, I am trying to adapt my process to pure drawing without an acrylic medium. In this series of work, I drew on the paper with charcoal just as I would have on  canvas. Then, rather than laying down an acrylic medium to spread the charcoal I took paint thinner and a cheap chip brush and spread the charcoal. The cheap brush helped give a very streaky feel that I enjoyed and the thinner allowed the development of washes and even drips. I repeated this process layering new lines on top of old just as I had done in the paintings and etchings.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 20″ x 16″, 2002

I have always loved oil paints. There is something about the feel and even the smell that I find very compelling. One thing I lamented with my new developing style was that I was no longer working with oils. So, for a period of time I sought to take a similar process and produce oil paintings. Painted the forms in oil and then layered glazes over them to create a subtle luminosity. There is something about these works that I still find compelling. A real sense of visual depth in a very flat surface. That and the sense of light that emerges from within the painting. I only did a few works like this. My favorite was a red one, the same size as this, but they were terribly hard to photograph and this one shows the forms more clearly.

Acts 17, acrylic & pastel on on Canvas, 12" x 12", 2002
Acts 17, acrylic & pastel on Canvas,
12″ x 12″, 2002

Another way I experimented with the Stratum Series was to paint on shaped canvases. In this work the drips that happened over the edge had always been very important. However, the shaped portrait canvases allowed for something very different. They instantly began to reference cellular samples under a microscope. This one very intentionally references both blood and the social groupings which these forms had always referenced. Initially, these pieces displayed individually but in time they evolved to be grouped in large wall displays allowing the canvases to interact as pieces of a larger composition.

Developing an Artistic Voice

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  • This is interesting. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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