I am currently taking a monotype class at AIB and have fallen in love with this printmaking technique. It is unlike anything I have ever done before.
I am primarily a relief printmaker and I use linoleum blocks. The whole process of image making is different. It is a subtractive method and the graphic quality is what to appeals to me. But the monotypes force me to think like a painter. And it offers me the opportunity to indulge in some landscape imagery.
Unlike other forms of printmaking (intaglio, lithography, serigraphs, relief) monotypes are one of a kind, a unique piece of work on paper. They are not editioned. Only one or two impressions can be made before the ink on the plate is used up.
The plates can be zinc, copper, or plexiglass. I primarily use plexiglass. Oil based ink is then applied in various ways to the surface of the plate which is then run through a press to get an impression.
The dimensions of the above prints are 3" x 3". This size is quite difficult to print when you have plexi plates.
The imagery is not actually of a particular place. It is evocative of a lifetime of looking out car/train/plane windows and watching the landscape fly by in streams of color and motion.
26 November 2007
03 November 2007
The Castle in the Forest: A Novel by Norman Mailer
Random House, 2007
477 pages, paperback
I was walking by the Harvard Bookstore the other day and saw this book in the window. Intrigued, I went in and read the back, and promptly bought the book. I have hardly been able to put it down in 2 days. I am actually a little disappointed I finished it already, having spent most of this rainy afternoon with my nose in its pages.
It is, in short, seductive. But it is also a fiction and that point must be stressed when one is tackling such a subject as Adolf Hitler.
Mailer in subtle genius does not paint a portrait of Hitler himself, but instead examines the long and perverted path that formed him. He chooses to tell the story from the point of view of a demon, an agent of the Evil One or the "Maestro" as the narrator refers to him. This demon is assigned to watch the threads that will be woven into the monster of the 20th century.
Mailer begins not with the birth of Hitler, but with the incestuous roots of his father and mother's births, and finally to the unholy union that created Adolf himself. You cannot help but feel that the complex webs of lechery, lust, and sin that were at the advent of Hitler's conception could only produce a monster or a genius. They created both. The demon sketches with almost painstaking detail, the early years of Hitler's life. The history is rich with characters: his father Alois, his mother Klara, his half siblings Alois Jr. and Angela, and the siblings to come after him, Edmund, and Paula, and the bee keeper. Bee keeping is so interwoven in the narrative that one almost grows tired of its all consuming importance in the minds of the characters.
The commentary offered by the demon directs the reader along a winding road of events, and people that serve to imprint the young Adolf. The demon takes credit for much of this imprinting and you are almost lead to believe that the young Adolf was groomed to throw the world into chaos. But there are also subtle reminders that Adolf himself harbored much of these evils already at a young age and the demon only helped him along to higher goals.
The story ends with a pale faced young man who has sequestered himself in the confines of an apartment in Linz, with his mother and sister. He has just grown a mustache. That mustache would become an icon of evil. But for now, it is a fine downy upon the lip of an unhappy youth. The demon does not elaborate on Hitler's story beyond his teens. That story is unfortunately a reality of history.
Mailer weaves a narrative that creates more questions than answers. It is not a work of historical account, nor is it presented as such. It is book that attempts to determine the nature of a monster; to speculate and try to understand the internal and external forces that drove a young Adolf to become evil personified. The question of "Why?" is never answered, the question of "How" is explored to its darkest depths.
01 November 2007
"Mother's Little Helper" Series 1963 ballpoint pen, watercolor, gouache on vintage paper 6 x 9.5 "
This is the first in a series entitled "1963". It was inspired by this stack of vintage photographs I found after my grandfather died. They are portraits taken of hotel guests in the early 1960s. They are fascinating to me in their frankness and the anonymity of the subjects. They are so awkward and candid even though they are posed.
This particular piece reminded me of the Rolling Stones' song "Mother's Little Helper" off of the album Flowers released in 1967.
I don't think of my work as collage, but it involves a layering process that is more organic. I push and pull and move elements around. I love to tear, rip, and cut up elements and rework them. Sometimes parts are far better than the whole. I try not to fall in love with anything because then I am reluctant to play with it.