Thursday, June 23, 2016


Aplacado  (El Veladero), 2016, woodcut, 51 1/2” x 38 1/2”
I first saw the work of Miguel A. Aragón far from Texas in an exhibition in San Francisco.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I admit that I'm can be a little "jaded" with printmaking. If there is bravado of technique with little content, I don't get very interested.  But this Aragón image which was created with laser burning then transferred to paper pulled me in and its transcendent awful beauty and significance had me returning to look and look again.  Aragón’s work is derived from a need to find meaning in these brutal events that reposition the corpse in one’s field of vision, reminding us that our physical existence is finite. By using metaphors and visual metonymies to tie together process and subject matter he explores the idea of perception, memory, and transformation. I learned that Aragón was from Juarez, Mexico and had studied at UT El Paso and finished his MFA at the University of Texas right here in Austin.  How had I missed him?

Aplacado  (Emboscado), 2016, woodcut, 51 1/2” x 38 1/2”
Through a mutual friend, we made contact and I invited him to come create work with Flatbed. Neither one of us was sure what the project was going to evolve into.  In the past couple of years Miguel had been "drilling" into large bit-mapped photos published by the media in print and digital format.  They depict forensic evidence of murders and deaths due to the cartel violence in Mexico.  

We talked about drilling into matrices that could be 
Aplacado  (Siete cascos percudidos), 2016, Aquatint, 51 1/2” x 38 1/2”
printed here at Flatbed.  We dreamed up ways that he could use the drilling here and the result was the creation of two drilled woodcuts and one drilled copper-plate aquatint. The methods we used might have been only slightly unconventional, but creating editions is probably the closest to "traditional" that Miguel does.  Some of the processes are documented in the photos below.  

Miguel titled the suite of three prints "Aplacado." The translation is “appeasement.” Miguel writes about the work:  “Beginning with the idea of erasure as language, I concentrate on the use of processes that are reductive in nature. Any form of erasure, however violently destructive, can be seen as constructive in some way; something comes through the destruction, the negation of an image is not actually nothing. It is my intention to transform the image, through erasure, from crude and unbearable into a more beguiling or subtle way of presenting these disturbing images. The void thus creates a space that nurtures the memory of what was before, engaging the viewer with a more intricate experience of the image. What I am looking for, as a result of these deletions is not to forget the horrific crimes these images convey; rather, I am searching for an understanding of what has happened by acquiring a sense of catharsis.”

The editions are small.  Siete cascos percudidos, an aquatint, is an edition of 12. Both ElVeladero and  Emboscado woodcuts are editions of 10.  All editions were printed on Rives BFK from 48” x 36” matrices. The prints are available at Flatbed for purchase or exhibition.  Call or email Flatbed Press ( for more information or for jpegs.  Links to the prints on Flatbed's web site can be found here: Miguel A. Aragón

Left to right:  Miguel Aragón drilling the woodcut through printed image, Printer Cordelia Blanchard pulling proof of woodcut, Katherine Brimberry and Cordelia Blanchard preparing to ink the etched copper plate.