Monoprints and Edition Variable

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“Liminal Passage” AP 1, a monoprint by Mark Roland

In fine art printmaking, the general procedure is to make a plate or matrix of some kind, take some test impressions (artist’s proofs) and pick the best example to emulate in the edition that follows. Due to the process of printing by hand, there are often small differences in particular edition prints, and this is allowed. But what about when the differences are more dramatic, in color or value relationships for example? By writing the letters EV before the number of the print, this states that the variations in the edition prints are clearly noticeable. In Edition Variable prints, the goal of making each print as similar as possible is overridden by the desire to let each impression fulfill its greatest individual potential. I have done a number of Edition Variable prints, often prints that are printed in multiple colors, and then hand colored. Examples are Threshold, Helios and The Transit of Venus series.

There are also Monoprints and Monotypes. In the Monoprint, the individual print of an edition is given even freer reign, and while there will be other prints made from the same plate, they need not be similar, in fact may be radically different and unique. These works stand on their own as distinct originals, even though they are multiples, produced from the same matrix.

My recent landscape etching, “Liminal Passage,” has presented me the opportunity to make the all of the edition Monoprints. Each print is a unique multi-color etching with additional hand coloring. I am making selected prints from this edition available only on The River’s Edge. Unlike my standard edition prints from The Enchanted Forest series (and other monochrome works) that vary only slightly, Liminal Passage Monoprints are more akin to original paintings in their variation. In contrast to Edition Variable prints, where the variations arise from a limited number of colors, my Monoprints allow a more experimental approach and unusual diverse color combinations. So you can think of them as existing both as a painting in ink and simultaneously a limited fine art print. My first experiments with Monoprints was in a series of small prints influenced by 1960’s poster art, Remembrance, Butterfly and The Star. Every print was made in different color combinations, and in the spirit of the 60’s, given away to friends instead of sold.

Part of the challenge of selling artwork via a web site versus in person from an exhibit or gallery, is making sure the buyer has the best digital visual representation of the work and also understands what the nature of the piece is. The latter is much more of an issue in the category of prints, i.e. what medium is the print, is it a limited fine art print, an open-ended reproduction, hand colored, made with archival materials etc.. My intention is to provide collectors with the best, and most complete description of my etchings possible, be they artist’s proof, regular edition print, edition variable or monoprint.

—Mark Roland

Eigene, Oregon

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