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ERIN A Close

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.

 Variation B

Erin w/ Window and Geometric Sculpture | Variation B | 35 x 22 inches | 2014

 Variation A

Erin w/ Window and Geometric Sculpture | Variation A | 35 x 22 inches | 2014

 Variation A: detail

 Variation A: extreme detail!

Anyway, the question now is how do I finish? Does the piece end at the edge of the image? Or do I mount the canvas to include all the ink, graphite, and interesting mistakes happening around the edges. One approach would emphasize the image, the other draws out the physical materials.

 Variation A: no border

 Variation A: with border

2 Comments

  1. Rachel
    Rachel02-17-2014

    What if the piece ends at the edge of the image’s frame? Maybe that’s what you’ve done in the first option, and I just can’t see it, but if you include the white frame, then you can acknowledge both the image itself and it’s origination (as well as the original materials, as there is at least a piece of the white frame that has a bit of paint on it).

    I have thought about images of images for a long time, and how they are different from poems about poetry/writing. I think poems about writing make me nauseous/bored, and images of images don’t.

  2. jon
    jon02-18-2014

    Interesting parallel. Above all, the difference might just be that poems about poetry are a less natural part of our day to day life. In the visual realm, many all the images we interact with are recreations of an image that existed is some other form.

    Maybe a more general analog to your world would be “a written account of an account.”

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