Blogger: Rachel van Blydenstein
Printer Kim-Lee Loggenberg is immersed in the completion of Robyn Penn’s latest edition, ‘The Map is Not the Territory III’. This print is one of a suite of three clouds that are part of Penn’s most recent collaboration with DKW, ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’.
Penn, who recently opened an exhibition at the Barnard Gallery in Cape Town, has worked closely with Loggenberg on creating this plate, using the intaglio process of sugarlift aquatint to achieve the movement and tonality in this print that so closely resembles that of the artist’s paintings.
The process begins with steel-facing a copperplate and using condensed milk to create an image by rendering the marks on the plate. A thick resistant is then applied to the plate, over the condensed milk and allowed to dry. Once dry, the plate is submerged in water and the areas where the condensed milk has been marked is agitated so that the water may seep in between the resistant and the plate, dissolving the sugar. The plate is then placed in an aquatint box, where it will be coated with fine powdered resin particles before it is placed under heat, so as to affix the resin to the resistant. The plate is then submerged in an acid etching bath, where the acid bites away at the plate, in place of where the condensed milk marks were. Leaving the plate in the bath for different times will result in the depth to which the acid eats away at the plate, thus creating variations in the tonality of the condensed milk marks.
The plate is then inked up and wiped using the method of ‘À la poupée’ which refers to a ball of fabric pressed in circular motions onto the plate to deposit the ink in the areas that have been treated with aquatint. The term, ‘À la poupée’ means “with a doll” – the ball of fabric or leather used in this printmaking process is very similar, historically, to the fabric heads that were used to make dolls or poppets. Its dual purpose also allows printmakers to use two colour inks, without the inks bleeding into one another. In this print, ‘The Map is Not the Territory III’, five colour inks were used; emerald, red, pink, black and grey – the same colours that were used to print ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’.
The edition of six requires each print to be layered with ink, the first of which is inked with emerald, pink and grey. The plate is printed and then left to dry before the second layered is inked with red and black and then printed, according to perfect registration. The use of these colours create movement and definition in the marks made by Penn.
To view the suite of prints, ‘The Map is Not the Territory’ click here