This work began as a series in cut paper last fall after I took a class from Henry Bermudez at Fleisher Art Memorial. Bermudez teaches students to cut paper and reassemble it as assemblage and collage. His own work uses this technique to express emotion and memory of his life in South America and the United States.
I had seen his work several times before the class started, most notably in the Fleisher Faculty Exhibition last summer, when his monumental cut paper piece dominated one of the galleries, in tones of blue and yellow, with lots of small animals and cut paper shapes surrounding a large cross. I was eager to see how my work as a printmaker would grow and change under his influence.
The first revelation was that cutting paper and floating it above the surface of the backing board moved the image from two-dimensions to three. I was trained as an architect, and thought in three-dimensions for decades. I always think of my 2-D prints in terms of layers, but they are flattened into one plane. Now for the first time, my prints can rise off the page into space. This alone was amazing.
As I worked, I began to incorporate the grid imagery from my recent monoprint series. I traced the outline of the window muntins and bars onto stiff watercolor paper, and used that as my top layer, floating above the backing board on tiny hidden stilts of acid-free foam core board. For the underlayer, I brought out a series of silkscreen monoprints I had done in class at Fleisher back in 2005. I had used a stencil composed of open and closed rectangles that I had filled using one color of ink with a variety of textures that resulted in a related series of monoprints printed in transparent values of the four process colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
As I placed the variegated veils of pigmented color under the cut grid, a second revelation occurred, as a new dialogue began between the two geometries. The colored rectangles on the backing board seemed to sing in harmony with the gridded openings of the upper layer.
These works are my first exploration into this new way of working. I made cut paper collages using each of the 4 colors, creating a suite of windows, all with the same grid floating above different colorways below.
Yellow Window #1 and Black Window #1 are now on view at Orchard Artworks from through April 26, 2015.
Cyan Window #1 and Magenta Window #1 will be on view at the Main Line Art Center from May 1 to June 7, 2015.