I feel like I’ve approached a new moment in my personal screen printing spirit quest. Like a lifelong friendship or a slow developing drinking problem, screen printing started for one reason and now it’s become something else. One item I’ve definitely been devoting a lot of thought to is the difference between a picture and a picture of a picture. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but something about this gets to the heart of the aesthetic possibilities unique to mechanical imprintation. There’s a reason I haven’t gone back to painting or drawing.
For the time being, I’m trying to be as deliberate as possible about imprints. Here’s an example. It’s a brand new work on canvas that is a picture of a picture: a screenprinted piece made from a recent Polaroid of Erin at home in front of our humongous Bay Window.
The original object is an instant photograph of Erin.
The new object is an photo-screen print depicting the instant photograph object of Erin.
(In this case the added wrinkle is that this is a light on dark print–it is essentially a negative image that reads as positive because it happens to be printed on a black surface. In other words it’s a negative of a negative that makes a positive. I enjoy that this draws out the illusion of image just a little bit further. Up close, there is is no doubt that this effect comes about by thick globs of vigorously applied white ink.)
I should say that it’s essential to me that the art works both ways: as an engrossing image and, simultaneously, as physical materials deliberately creating the illusion of an image. And here’s the thing I want to find a way to get across: I think of this as a sort of unwavering optimism about what is beautiful and important in the world. This isn’t meant as a technical deconstruction or a conceptual experiment. The point is an attention to drawing out the deeply multifaceted beauty that exists on many levels in almost everything around us.
A picture of a picture not only shows you something about the image but also compels you to consider the aesthetic & sentimental properties of the photograph object itself.