History Lessons:

July 6 - Aug 10, 2024

Celebrating 30 years of collaboration with master printer, Marcia Bartholme, Beta Press
Reception Saturday July 13th from 4:30-6:30

“My role is to help artists get to where they want to be with an image. Etching can be unpredictable, images sometimes emerge off the plate revealing different possibilities than the artist’s original intention. Fay is really good at capturing those unforeseen opportunities.”
    – Marcia Bartholme

Studio e is delighted to present an exhibition of new monoprints and etchings by Fay Jones, one of the Northwest’s most critically acclaimed and admired artists. While Jones's work has appeared in several group exhibitions at the gallery, this marks her first solo exhibition here as well as her first focusing on prints exclusively.  History Lessons runs from July 6 through August 10 with an opening reception for the artist on July 13 from 4:30 - 6:30pm

The works were made with master printer Marcia Bartholme, Jones’s collaborator since 1994 when they fortuitously met, sparking Jones’s interest in pursuing printmaking. Even thirty years and nearly 100 impressions hence, however, the genesis of these works is unique. It was prompted by the discovery of a stash of pre- and unused copper plates from 2005 and 2007. With the exception of Rose and Dreamer with a Mixed Flock, whose editioning was awaiting completion, most involve several plates each selectively cut from the secondhand ones. The exhibition comprises twenty monoprints and six editions in small runs of 15 or 20.

As a painter known for large, complex figurative scenes that are mysterious and dreamlike yet folksy, these works stand out for their simplicity and tight focus. Many involve cleanly outlined and silhouetted images layered one on top of the next and free-floating in uncluttered spaces. Walk On Gambler 1, medium-sized at 26 x 22 inches as is typical here, a succession of superimposed, often transparent, multi-directional figures--a mother with a standing child unnaturally hinged from her hip, a striding man in a suit and a bent hatted man pointing--stack up flat against the picture plane like so many receipts skewered on a check spindle. Part of a suite of three framed by monotyped red curtains, the figures seem to perform vanishing acts as they cross the successive “stages.” For example, in Walk On Rabbit, the mother has become so faded from view that the child appears to be attached to the silhouetted rabbit instead. In No. 10 all that remains of the striding man is his handpainted shoe, and now the rabbit balances its flopped upsidedown double on its ears.
Mixing excerpted images from these historic plates with handpainting and other new additions, the works on view offer rare insight into Jones’s iterative process as well as Bartholme’s fluency with a range of printing techniques. An image from one series often hopscotches into another, as when Jones upended the large pink head in Shadow and Weight and reassigned it as a jug in Bunny Jug and Jug with Masks 1 and 2.  In a series of four monoprints Jones juggles a perspectivally-rendered whirlpool (sugarlift aquatint) on an allover toile-like background (soft ground etching) superimposed by a smaller palette set flat to the picture plane (hand painting on Plexiglas) along with altered and added elements. For example, in No. 14 the so-called ghost (second, paler pull) of the toile-like pattern is barely discernible except for the part overlapping the palette, which Jones in-painted back to vividness. In another, Partial Index of Images, the palette—now outlined in red--frames a handpainted pink water lily encircled by a menagerie of ghost printed animal silhouettes, which have been substituted for the whirlpool, whose plate has been omitted from this version. The silhouetted figures that frequent these works were made using cutouts, or in technical terms, the “mask” of a stencil. The masks are inked black and placed on top for the final pull.

Anyone familiar with Jones’s work will recognize the nearly twenty-year old images of sailors, divers, volcanoes, and countless flora and fauna intermingling in these works, like old friends who have remained ageless. Proof of the continuity of her practice, at the same time these works demonstrate the artist’s endless inventiveness with her core collection of personal iconography.

    – Melissa E Feldman

2024 Editioned Prints