Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Jasper Johns Monotypes, the next exhibition in his gallery at 522 West 22nd Street. The exhibition includes twenty-three monotypes created between 1983 and 2015, many on view for the first time.
A monotype is a unique print made by drawing on a hard surface (usually a metal plate), laying a sheet of paper on top, and running it through a press to transfer the image to the paper. Typically printed from a single application of ink, monotypes have an immediacy more commonly associated with drawing and painting than with printmaking. This immediacy, along with monotype’s unpredictability, may explain its special appeal for Johns.
The earliest works in the exhibition employ a crosshatch pattern that first appeared in an untitled 1972 painting. Johns spent a decade exploring the motif further in painting, drawing, and a range of printmaking techniques before embarking on a group of monumental crosshatch monotypes, two of which are included here. Over eight feet wide, each sheet was too large for a single plate, so Johns drew on several Plexiglas plates and printed them in sections, passing the paper through the press multiple times. The result is an interlocking pattern that varies throughout the group.
Other works in the exhibition incorporate familiar subjects and motifs, including three Catenary monotypes from 2001 and a Numbers monotype from 2013. As Johns said in a 1979 interview, “I like to repeat an image in another medium to observe the play between the two: the image and the medium.” Among the exhibition’s most recent works are three 2015 monotypes based on a photograph taken by Larry Burrows during the Vietnam War. The source image depicts a marine in despair after a failed mission, his posture echoing that of Lucian Freud in Johns’s recent Regrets series or the figure in Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.
In 2017, Matthew Marks Gallery will publish a catalogue raisonné of Jasper Johns monotypes. Written by Susan Dackerman, Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, and Jennifer L. Roberts, professor of art history at Harvard, the book will reproduce all 141 works Johns made in this medium between 1954 and 2015.
Jasper Johns Monotypes is on view at 522 West 22nd Street from May 5 to June 25, 2016, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
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