05 December 2011
Japanese-method woodblock (moku hanga)
Image size: 35" x 21" (89 x 53 cm)
Paper size: 38.5" x 25" (98 x 63.5 cm)
1 shina plywood block, 2 birch blocks
10 hand-rubbed color layers
Paper: Shikoku White
Pyramid and eye are enlarged from the back of a U.S. dollar bill.
Figure is from a found 1880 etching of migrant workers in a field. __________________________________
The pyramid image found on the back of the U.S. dollar bill is part of the Great Seal of the U.S. and is, as my friend Mary so aptly put it the other day, "kind of strange." The eye, which I find especially odd, is said to indicate that God, or Providence, favors the U.S. enterprise and will watch over it.
I moved the eye farther away from the bottom portion of the pyramid and inserted a small human figure between the two to give the meaning a different twist. The figure is from an 1880 etching I found of a group of African American migrant workers in a cotton field, their labors watched over with care by a white man.
I love the posture of this figure. To me the man looks weary, as if he just arrived at the top of the 13 steps, and he seems to be in the act of turning towards the eye, maybe just realizing that he's not going to get there from where he is. The way he's holding his right arm almost looks to me as if he's about to raise it, in defiance or in frustration. Even though the drawing is from 1880, the pose looks modern to me and it feels like an accurate posture for expressing the feeling you can have when you've worked really hard for something and fallen short. Or the just-waking-up feeling embodied in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The sky and star trails were very difficult to print, so the sky is a little different in every one of this edition of seven. I guess I'm still nowhere near being a master printer, but I sure enjoy making these prints. Hope you enjoy them too.