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Printing History

Beginning in 1964, a personal epiphany emerged from an original artwork. A self portrait cut into a wooden block was reproduced in 3 copies on rice paper. Positive and negative space suggested by line and mass, became a metaphor for multiple ways of thinking about visual reality. In that each of the 3 copies printed somewhat differently, I was confronted with seeing the same image in alternate ways. The density of the ink and the amount of hand pressure brought forward nuances that made the optic nerve pulse in a push/pull sort of way, giving me the unexpected perception of an alternating ground and image. The addition of another color sparked a beginning of visual thinking through process.

Early experimentation with the "plastic arts", especially painting, furthered the notion that process could lead to a heightened sense of Reality. There was a quickening of the visual imagination, when through my association with the book publishing trade, I became more aware that typography and layout, could help awaken the literary imagination. The telling of the Story unlocked and propelled the importance of Process. Finally the poem crystalized the Dream: the refined essence of thought in rhythms unmasked a hidden Reality. These impressions confirmed my early print sense that it is nearly impossible to see just one thing at a time; things are seen in relation to one another that includes peripheral vision and memory traces."Consequently, a reproduction, as well as making it's own references to the image of it's original, becomes itself the reference point for other images. The meaning of an image is changed according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it. Such authority as it retains, is distributed over the whole context in which it appears." *


When I began to print letterpress in 1982, these considerations came full circle. The act of hand setting type, moved me into a process that lent a timeless ontology into the nature of segmentation and it's relationship to the Whole (One). More simply stated - a free zone. Since that time I began to collect the ditritus of the printing process. Test proofs, experimentations of mixing ink, and overprinting eventually were reconfigured into collage and assemblage - layering these segments of process into artwork. In letterpress I began to combine and reuse graphics, cuts, type and printed 3-dimensional objects into configurations that became glyphs. Text took the place of tone in a 'painted' 2-dimensional notation that could be a kind of map of the interior - a consequence of internal time looking backward onto a regenerative process.

* John Berger, Ways of Seeing / Viking Press, 1973


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