A Flood of Ideas: Drypoint Prints and Archeology

Lately my mind has been racing with all sorts of ideas for different ways I could go about executing works for this current series. I’m surprised that I had an idea that comes from a past project, as I tend not to consider options once a project has been completed. I think one of the reasons I’m flooding myself with so many options is because I completed the 20 monotypes the other day, and I’ve yet to determine the next step in this project. A few weeks ago I was convinced that I wanted to do some horizontal monotypes, but now that I have all of these other ideas that’s becoming less certain.

Oddly enough, I was taking a nap today when two ideas came to me that I got pretty excited about pursuing. The first idea was to do some drypoint prints instead of monotypes. This idea actually originated from an intaglio print I did several years ago in the Digging Series, which was an image of people digging and wandering on a beach. I was still honing my skills in intaglio printmaking, and at the time I saw this print more as an exercise for learning spit bite and sugarlift. The spit bite didn’t quite turn out the way I was anticipating, and to compensate I ended up covering almost the entire image in drypoint. To this day, this print seems like a big failure because it didn’t take advantage of the spit bite and sugarlift the way I wanted it to, and the drypoint work in my opinion looks clumsy and too generalized. I guess in terms of my current work, I like the idea of using a technique like drypoint which inherently goes against all of the qualities of the images I’m doing now, which are all very quick, spontaneous, gestural, and brush-like. I think I’ve also grown weary of how quickly the monotypes get done, and it would be nice to work with a medium that forces me to work in a more sustained and concentrated manner.

After the Storm

“After the Storm”, spit bite, sugarlift, & drypoint, 9″ x 12″, 2004

The other idea I had goes back to the Digging Series as well, but in a more direct way. At the time that I was working on that series, I had always wanted to do a grander scale installation that was more interactive with the audience. I initially had some ideas about digging a giant pit outside and placing figures digging in and around the pit, but the whole interpretation seemed too literal and wasn’t pushing the concept far enough. I woke up from my nap today thinking about importing a massive amount of dirt into a gallery space, and packing it tightly enough so that it could be walked on by people. I saw myself sculpting digging figures that would essentially be buried into this mass of dirt, and then eventually excavated from a gallery space by visitors to the gallery. Maybe it’s just my life long fascination with archeology, but I love the idea of people literally unearthing the sculptures slowly, and the landscape of the dirt changing as the sculptures emerge from the ground. I think I would create the sculptures out of a relatively fragile material like plaster so that as people walk on the surface of the dirt in the gallery, the sculptures have the potential to break and fall apart like ancient sculptures.

One thought on “A Flood of Ideas: Drypoint Prints and Archeology

  1. Clara, I came across your page while searching for ideas involving drypoint etching. I really like the way you describe letting an idea form and living with the idea, letting the possibilities present and reveal themselves to you. Best of luck to you!

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