[Vernon, B.C.]: Greenboathouse Press, 2021. Quarto, 32.6 x 23.6 cm. Sewn onto cloth slips laced through limp beige paper covers. Title printed in green to the spine; the upper cover is printed in turquoise with an arrangement of type furniture on a subtle tan rectangular background. Pale green Barcham Green Charter Oak endpapers. Housed in a light linen covered slipcase. An outer wrapper of plain black paper is wrapped around the slipcase, with ‘AF’ printed in silver and pale gold to its font. Unpaginated [ll. 35]. A fine copy. The text was set in 16pt Cloister Lightface, “cast in house from the original ATF matrices on a Monotype Super Caster, along with some 18-line wood type and beat-up Franklin Gothic for the title page and headings.” Printed on Hahnemühle Biblio paper. The binding was done by Alanna Simenson. The text comprises a Foreword by Aaron Peck, ‘On Grids & Landscape’, and a Printer’s Note, Not Agnes Martin, by Jason Dewinetz. The Foreword and Printer’s Note bookend 24 compositions made from arrangements of type furniture. The arrangements were inspired by Agnes Martin’s abstract paintings. They are printed on the rectos only in a range of blues, greens, and turquoises. From an edition of 70 copies, of which 10 are deluxe. This is number 34 of 60 copies comprising the regular state. Item #367
“This began with Agnes Martin. With the simplicity and grace of her abstract compositions. With her subtle yet grounding palette. With the sense of quiet harmony that her paintings convey. Made up primarily of translucent bands of understated colour overlaying a square field, much of the impact of Martin’s work comes from its scale: the paintings are generally around 5ft square, and seen in person the delicate yet commanding effect of her compositions is intense. Reproduced at much-reduced scale in monographs (usually around 6-inches square), the paintings lose much of their detail and effect, but, curiously, at this scale these colour bands are presented at a size and proportion remarkably similar to letterpress furniture, and so the idea to recreate some of Martin’s paintings on the press seemed almost ready-made.
What I always look for in a Greenboathouse Press project is a sense of excitement and technical challenge, and this idea had both, so I was eager to push forward. Materials were sourced and ordered, a number of papers considered, paintings and drawings selected to be reproduced, and schematics drafted for various lock-ups, A proposal was then cautiously drawn up and sent off to New York, and with that the Agnes Martin Foundation abruptly put an end to the entire thing.
Still, experiments were undertaken, proof of concept trials proved successful, and the results were promising. A momentary clang of disappointment fluttered back to life. If not the original idea, then a chance for evolution. If not reproductions, then no specific model, and if no model, then the awful freedom of experiment. With the square removed from the equation, the format obviously called for a rectangle, and if the rectangle then of course the Golden Section.
Endless blending wore down my ink knives as I mixed dozens of variations of a limited palette grounded in the muted greens and blues of the Okanagan Valley where I live. Then, both digitally and physically, pieces of furniture were positioned and positioned again, switched out and recombined, locked up and torn down. Piece after piece was sanded smooth, measured carefully, and propped up with a thousand slips of .002” tissue to get each one type-high. Again the pieces were shifted and turned, moved closer together and farther apart, set to align or shifted incrementally to convey a curve. And what was it that I was actually doing, besides making a mess and wearing the grit off my belt sander? Moving stuff around, and then moving it around again. Putting things in ‘a neat, attractive and [given the constraints of letterpress printing] required order.’ Composing with wooden blocks. Arranging furniture.” — Jason Dewinetz, Printer’s Note: Not Agnes Martin.
Out of stock