Monday, June 24, 2013


Randy Twaddle at work on Lankydoo
I have been a long-time fan of Randy Twaddle and his large scale drawings. The conceptual underpinning of Randy's work is the tight balance and contrast of controlled, logical and systematic linear elements against the fluid beauty of chance, arbitrary, and atmospheric stains.  As a lover of art history, I compare his Transformer drawings to a marriage of the sensibilities of Michelangelo's Pieta with Helen Frankenthaler's Bilbao. Control and Determination meet Mystery and Flux.  Linear and Narrative meet Exponential and Free-forming.  When Randy accepted our invitation to come create work at Flatbed,  I was honored to be able to collaborate with him in a project.

Randy came to Flatbed to plan his etching and we discussed working with a Transformer image.  Randy's transformer images are influenced by heavy electrical wiring and transformers seen (and not really "seen") in our urban environment.  Randy has long been fascinated with these images and we deemed it ideal for the printmaking techniques of aquatint and line etching.  We determined that he would create the linear forms with line etching and tightly controlled aquatint etched to print a deep and dense black.  The free-form fluid "ground" to be printed in a transparent brown would be created with aquatint etched with his pouring a nitric acid solution directly onto the copper plate.  Randy would have some control over the directional "run" of the acid but ultimately, the flux of the acid would create its own shape and gradations.

Master Printer Tracy Mayrello proofing Lankydoo
The process of working with Randy to etch and proof two plates took about five days before we came up with the R.T.P., a right to print proof which determined how we were to print the edition. During the collaboration there were dramatic moments, not the least when Randy applied the liquid acid and gum Arabic mixture to the copper plate and holding and moving a large copper plate, while he controlled the direction of the "run" of the acid. The linear plate was straightforward for Randy to draw and for us to etch, but the primary variable of this etching proved to be the exact, transparent sepia colored "stain" ink for the background. Randy was fond of the stain that coffee makes on paper, and we attempted to get that luminous color by mixing several earth colors of inks and making the mixture very transparent.  However ink colors can vary even from reputable vendors, and after several weeks of re-mixing and ordering new inks then re-proofing, we achieved the right color and could go forward with the edition.  Editioning this large etching took two months, and Randy signed all the prints of the edition of 24 in July 2012.  

As is the case with all fine art prints as well as any art object, this work should be experienced first hand. Lankydoo is now on exhibition at Flatbed.  Our gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10am - 5pm and Saturday 10am - 3pm. We are also open by appointment to all who would like to see this or any of our prints outside of normal open hours.

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