Can You See Them? 8 Artworks on The Edge of Visibility

November 26, 2018

This fall, Art in Print has partnered with International Print Center New York to present the exhibition Edge of Visibility, exploring what it means to see, physically, metaphysically, socially and politically. The show features works of art that are strategically and literally hard to see, carrying multiple avenues of thought that overlap and intersect in various ways.

Edge of Visibility presents more than 50 elusive works from the 17th century to the present, including laborious micro-engravings, subtle watermarks, and evanescent images printed with UV-reactive inks. Some of the artists exhibited are Fiona Banner, Barbara Bloom, Levi David van Gelder, Glenn Ligon, Christian Marclay, Boris Margo, Kerry James Marshall, Chris Ofili, Philippe Parreno, William Pratt, and Susan York among others.

Curated by Susan Tallman, Art in Print editor in chief, the exhibition is organized in conjunction with the September-October issue of this scholarly journal, taking place at the International Print Center New York until December 19th, 2018.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights from this intriguing show.

Featured images: Installation shots, Carly Gaebe / Steadfast Studios. All images courtesy IPCNY.

Barbara Bloom - Watermark III

Although best known for her installations, the American conceptual artist Barbara Bloom works in a wide range of media. The work Watermark III is part of the 1988 projects Esprit de l'Escalier. Featuring a photographic watermark made from sensationalist newspaper clippings, only visible when lit from behind, it offers hazy “proof” of the existence of UFOs. Without backlighting, the paper sheet appears empty.

Featured image: Barbara Bloom - Watermark III from the series Esprit de l’Escalier, 1988. One from a series of seven watermarked handmade paper sheets, framed with lightbox. Framed: 37 x 31 x 2 inches (lightbox). Printed and published by Dieu Donné Papermill, New York. Edition: 15. Courtesy of the artist and David Lewis, New York

William Kentridge - Sheets of Evidence

William Kentridge is famous for his works that exhibit unparalleled nuance and lyricism. In the work Sheets of Evidence, the artist the artist combines interests into interpersonal drama, figurative drawing, printed language and the sequential framing of film. Comprised of 18 pages of drawings and texts embedded as watermarks, the book's content becomes visible only when the page is lifted by the viewer. At that point, a series of intimate marital moments and hidden thoughts reveal themselves in front of the viewer.

Featured image: William Kentridge - Sheets of Evidence, 2009. Book of eighteen watermarked pages. Each: 12 1/2 x 15 inches. Printed and published by Dieu Donné, New York. Edition: 20. Collection of Susan Gosin

Christian Marclay - Untitled (Ghost)

Mixing different media and various culture references into the rich fusion of qualities that synthesize in the original artistic experience, Christian Marclay plays with perception and human experience of sensory data. Sound and its representation have been an important part of his practice. In the work Untitled (Ghost), the artist used a found album cover, removing identifying language to leave what initially appears to be simply a square of worn and faded white cardboard. The image becomes abraded into near invisibility.

Featured image: Christian Marclay - Untitled (Ghost), 1988. Altered record cover, 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 inches. Edition: unique. Private collection

Kerry James Marshall - Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein

Through painting, sculpture, installation, collage, video, and photography, the artist Kerry James Marshall explores a history of black identity and issues of race. This two etching depict standing black nudes which take confrontational, full frontal postures that. These bodies are both threating in racist tropes and pointedly vulnerable. The works are characterized by darkness and simplicity, with bodies discernible mainly through scattered fragments of white, the negative space between Marshall’s lines.

Featured image: Kerry James Marshall - Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein, 2010. Hardground etching with aquatint. Sheet: 24 1/2 x 19 inches. Printed and published Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley, CA. Edition: 50. Courtesy of the artist and Paulson Fontaine Press, Berkeley, CA

Chris Ofili - Black Shunga 8

The main topic of Chris Ofili work is the exploration of both contemporary and historical black experience through challenging racial stereotypes. Coated with color-shifting metallic powder, then printed with blotches that might be clouds or waterstains, the works from the artist's series Black Shunga change character with the fall of light and angle of sight. When seen from up close, the viewer can spot the outlines of humans figures derived from Shunga—the erotic prints of Edo period Japan.

Featured image: Chris Ofili - Black Shunga 8, 2008–15 from Black Shunga. A portfolio of eleven etchings with gravure on pigmented paper. Each sheet: 26 3/8 x 17 1/2 inches. Printed and published by Two Palms, New York, Edition: 20. Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms, New York

Philippe Parreno - A Wise Chinese Monk Shitting Light

The Algerian artist Philippe Parreno works across film, video, sound, sculpture, performance and information technology. His project titled Fade to Black is comprised of images created with phosphorescent ink, which document the artist’s unrealized proposals. It consists of an artist’s book and two poster series, one printed on brightly colored papers and one on white. The images are best visible with lights off, emitting the light they absorbed during exposure. After some time, the images "fade to black".

Featured image: Philippe Parreno - A Wise Chinese Monk Shitting Light, lamp prototype for Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2006, from the series Fade to Black, 2013. Screenprint in phosphorescent ink (shown unilluminated and illuminated). Sheet: 39 1/2 x 55 1/2 inches. Printed and published by the artist Edition: 6. The artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles

Walid Raad - Views from Inner to Outer Compartments

Working in video, installation, photography, performance and literary essays, the Lebanese artist Walid Raad deals with the contemporary history and cultural identity of his naïve country. The series Views from Inner to Outer Compartments depicts architectural components of doorways in a number of institutions. Minimally outlines, this white-on-white image is drawn from its context, appearing both ghostly and precise while floating in space. The works address the idea of how history is built and lost by the way we treat its artifacts.

Featured image: Walid Raad - Views from Inner to Outer Compartments, 2013. Selection of five from a portfolio of nine photoengravings Each sheet: 17 5/16 x 19 inches. Printed and published by Edition Jacob Samuel, Santa Monica, CA. Edition: 10. Private Collection, New York. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York © Walid Raad

Megan Foster - Untitled, from Prints for Protest

Created in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Megan Foster's print is part of Prints for Protest, a project that raises money for organizations that protect civil rights, such as the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and others. In her practice, the artist often recasts magazine clippings, film stills and staged photographs by using silhouettes and flat color forms. In this print, the artist depicted the silhouette of a flag at half mast is set against a near-black, charcoal gray sky.

Featured image: Megan Foster - Untitled from Prints for Protest, 2016. Screenprint. Sheet: 22 x 15 inches. Printed by the artist, New York, NY; published by Prints for Protest, Providence, RI. Edition: 50. Courtesy of the artist.

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