While the artist is accustomed to working with the malleability of oil paints, he took on a challenge inherent to multiple plate etching–to work with transparency and color overlays. In the end, the artist and printers found they could generate the gamut of desired colors using five plates each etched with four values: yellow, red, paynes gray, violet, and white. The white plate achieves an opacity that, along with the registration marks, serves as an analogue for the ubiquitous screen as viewed in layout programs like InDesign. The intaglio process offers an additional utilitarian meaning to the registration marks, as their black color is achieved through the combination of all plates except white, thereby registering the colors. On some plates the artist chose to use spit bite and burnishing to achieve subtle textures in the otherwise flat fields of color.
At Wingate Studio we encourage artists to adapt our process to their mode of working. Ingeniously, Black has done this not by expanding outside the traditional technique of intaglio, but by utilizing the process as an extension of his approach to making. This has involved a playful observance and consideration of all components of the process, from the materiality, to the art historical placement of the medium, to the naming of the work, and beyond.
In the studio
The artist captures the physicality of the material he references through his use of deep aquatint etchings, which leave a thick layer of ink on the paper when printed. The physical presence of the ink is balanced by the subtlety of the palate and the fine line quality of the symbols. Recreating Period Pieces through the complex and laborious intaglio process is a further separation of these images from their origin, emphasizing the recontextualization of these signs. The artist envisions continuing the volumes until the final page of periods is completely black.