Chris Ofili, Black Shunga 8, 2008–15.
Edge of Visibility, curated in conjunction with the September-October issue of the journal Art in Print by its editor-in-chief Susan Tallman, focuses on low-visibility strategies in printmaking. With over forty works spanning the 17th century to the present, the exhibition features laborious microengravings and subtle watermarks to evanescent images printed with UV-reactive inks.
The often laborious, multi-step processes inherent to printmaking allow artists to maintain visual clarity before subverting this visibility in the final image. Examples include the highly-detailed, nearly imperceptible details of Chris Ofili’s multi-layered, opalescent Black Shunga (2008-15), or Walid Raad’s refined Views from Inner to Outer Compartments (2013).
The visual hurdle posed by low-visibility prints urges viewers to be more conscious of their sight upon entering the exhibition space. Rare historical works of virtuoustic micrography by Levi David van Gelder, Johann Michael Püchler, and William Pratt, use minuscule text to create images, escaping the conventional dichotomy of text and image. Matthew Kenyon’s Notepad (2007) and Fiona Banner’s Top Gun (1996) bring the tradition of micrography into the present.
(Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms, NY.)