The Magic of Monotype
June 21 – July 23, 2023

Curated by Arch Macinnes and Edda Valborg Sigurdardottir

In the monotype the artist draws with ink on a printing plate, and the resulting image is then pressed onto paper. The idea behind the composition is directly expressed by the action of the artist’s hand combined with the press, which always reveals some surprise.

There is a time element, too—the plate must be run through the press before the ink dries. The artist improvises much as a musician does, and once a commitment is made, there’s no going back, only forward. A print can be run through the press any number of times, allowing the gradual development of an image, but with every pass the artist must contend with the result.

The process privileges spontaneity and gesture, which is why the monotype has been referred to as the “most painterly” of printmaking techniques. Methods available to affect the thickness and distribution of ink on a plate make possible a wide vocabulary of textures. In addition, the possibility of overlapping layers of ink or combining different colored inks on the plate gives rise to an infinite spectrum of colors and color combinations.

When you look at the works in this show, you are looking squarely at the thinking and the process of the artist unaffected by erasures and afterthoughts. In an emerging world of artificial intelligence, the monotype reflects the opposite—the solely human hand, mind and spirit.