Monoprints (Monotypes) of Verna Brady
|| "What is a Monoprint?
A Monoprint is exactly what the word indicates: one-of-a-kind print. Different in this respect from other painting methods in which editions are possible, the monoprint is a unique work of art. . .and each one different. The monotype utilizes aspects of both painting and printmaking plus other techniques possible only in the monotype in a symbiotic relationship capable of great sensitivity.
Hym of Evening Breeze, 1981
Ode to Sunlight Fathoms, 1981
My method involves inking a plate with large brayers to create the color field and then working into the ink with smaller brayers and brushes loaded with other ink and/or solvent to create texture and develop the image. Then the plate is covered with a dampened paper and run through the press. In developing working methods suitable to my purpose, I have come to use plexi plates because their transparency allows me to have control over the development of the image. By inverting the plate over the first run, I can outline on the back with a litho crayon areas needing more development. Subsequent passes through the press develop areas marked and add more compositional and textural collage elements [ex. inked cheesecloth, paper, plastic, thread]. The multiple-run process is important to me in the development of the richness of textural detail and a sensation of transparency, space and movement. Because of my additive method, special care must be taken to maintain the feeling of freshness and spontaneity so vital to the monoprint.
This process begets an “all-or-nothing-at-all” result . . . and therein lies much of its excitement. The suspense of not knowing until the paper is peeled off the plate whether you “made it” or “blew it” is a game of chance not unlike Life itself and the chance one always takes with ambitious plans and dreams. Some “make it” . . . some don't . . !
Thoughts and artist's statements:
The highest aspiration of Art is to find ways to depict and express the Greatness within each one of us. To the extent that the artist succeeds, his work raises Man's view of himself. Such statements are never pre-planned but rather are the result of a strong inner urge to visualize “something”…and later find out what it is.
In the monoprint, my search for ways to make a visual statement of some significance led, as I realized later, to a symbolic expression of the meaning of being Human and the dichotomy of the Conscious/Subconscious Mind. My patterns of flowing movement, developed intuitively, seemed reflective of my conviction that it is the Subconscious which keeps us in tune with the Life Force of the Universe so evident in Nature's patterns of movement and energy—in clouds, water, rock and land formations. Geometric line and shape, brought into the statement to harness the organic movement into a composition, seemed also to be symbolic of thought and thus expressive of my awareness that the big difference between the Human and all other creatures on earth is the Conscious Mind.
Only Man can make the considered mark or take the considered action. And only Man tries to structure his Universe!
Purse Seine #24, 1979
Purse Seine Series
The Purse Seine Series was my first monotype series to symbolize this dicotomy of the Mind, but also seemed to me to be particularly Nature-oriented. The organic flow is expressive of te exciting shadow patterns on the ocean floor, created by the sun on the surface of moving water. The geometric structuring of float (circle), vertical line, and netting reflect the materials of the seiner operation.
Although I agree with Jung that symbols are not true symbols unless they emerge unawares, I find that once they have surfaced naturally in the course of a search for a way to express deeply felt concepts through visual imagery, they do become an important part of the artist's visual vocabulary. The “sense of rightness” of the symbol is then conducive to discovery of additional meanings in that symbols and/or the emergence of other symbols of equal or even deeper significance.
Monoprint Statement for Children
Have you ever made a finger painting? My monotypes and not very different from what you did. You might have put the paint right on the paper and then made a design----or you might have put the paint on a table or on glass, made the design, put the paper over it, rubbed the back and peeled it off.
The second way is the way I work. I roll printer's ink onto a piece of plexiglass, then make my designs in the ink, put a paper on it and run it through an etching press. The pressure of the press puts the ink in the paper better than rubbing the paper by hand. Then I take another plate, add more designs, put the paper back on it, and run it through the press again. My prints often go through the press 5 or 6 times before they are done.
Testimonials of Children from workshops.