For these artists, printmaking has provided fruitful grounds for experimentation in their varied practices. Their works collectively demonstrate the medium’s versatility through its many forms, ranging from intaglio to photogravure to silkscreen and monotype. While many feature printmaking prominently within their creative process, others engage with it more peripherally as a means of expanding their practice.
Zarina identifies herself as a printmaker as well as a sculptor in that she carves and etches the surfaces of her materials, which transfers her abstract and geometric compositions. The subtractive elements of relief and intaglio are placed in dialogue with the additive qualities of collage, as is also evident within Philip Taaffe’s intricately layered compositions. Taaffe builds his surfaces by silk-screening stenciled imagery borrowed from nature, architecture, and archeological fragments, varying the same core motifs in order to produce distinctive results. Glenn Ligon employs repetition in a slightly different manner in his text-based work as a means of abstracting language. He overlays text in multiple layers onto the same surface, thereby rendering the words largely illegible. Jeff Elrod and Christopher Wool both combine digital and analog processes in their respective practices. Elrod’s ‘frictionless’ drawings, created with a computer mouse, reimagine painterly gesture on a platform where elements like scale, resolution, and saturation are more swiftly negotiated. Wool often mines his earlier works as sources for new ones, transforming them through photographic reproduction, as well as through markings and erasures, blurring the distinction between the handmade and mechanical. Sanya Kantarovsky’s monotypes depicting stylized figures similarly minimize the distance between copy and original, revealing in their expressive qualities the dynamic relationship between template, substrate, and the artist’s hand.