Exhibited at Harvard Law School
Begun in 1981, finished 1983
The artist wrote of this engraving:
People often ask whether this engraving is cut from a detailed drawing that is transferred to the copper plate. That is not the way I work. A rough charcoal sketch of the central motif was drawn on the metal. The slow process of cutting activates the imagination and allows images to emerge and expand. Newly developed concepts are continually clarified into broader rhythms as the engraving grows.
The engraved line is very different from that which is freely drawn with a hand that can move in any direction on the two dimensional surface. To engrave, one sits sideways, almost at a right angle to the plate. Holding the burin (graver) firmly with a relaxed wrist, the sharp point is engaged into the metal, and the line slowly is created with a pushing motion from the shoulder. The artist literally 'follows' the line from behind. To make a curve, the plate is rotated. Forms are built line by line into a surface that is often turning.
Work on this engraving enhanced my perception of vital negative space. That space became as important to the design as the images it enclosed. The arc of ‘white’ that sweeps past the ancient coelacanth and nautilus, then moves toward images from recent history -- Holocaust figures -- [is an example of vital negative space]. This negative space travels through the forehead of the inwardly absorbed middle head, and emerges on its right to encompass the configuration of mother, child, and one-winged angel.
The stimulating ambiguity of engraving is that while the work is physically direct, the print reveals the inversion of the image. For me, the imaginative excitement of this reversal added to the architectonic building of forms furthers the expressive potential of this type of printmaking.