|PHENOMENA MOBY DICK (45/70) (1981), BY PAUL JENKINS|
ACQUIRED FROM JERALD MELBERG GALLERY, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, JUNE 2003
LITHOGRAPH ON 100% RAG PAPER, 38 1/2" BY 29 1/4", SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY THE ARTIST
Paul Jenkins is widely known for his polychromatic abstract works, executed in both watercolors and oils, in which he creates fields of pure color. This work is not typical of a Jenkins.
When I visited Jerald Melberg Gallery on the last day of Paul Jenkins' show in March 2003, Jerald and I discovered a drawer full of Jenkins' lithographs that Jerald had completely forgotten about. This turned out to be a good thing, since I quite liked a couple of the lithographs... this one in particular. After Jerald and I discussed the pros and cons of two of them, I decided to acquire this work.
Basically, this work consists of three color fields... a field of silvery grey, a field of a very nice blue, and a field of a blackish color that transitions very smoothly into the blue field. (The dark area at the top of the work is not a shadow... it's actually that color.) Over all three fields, there are some droplets of white, scattered like ocean spray. The combined shape of the fields reminds me somewhat of a leaf, or of the fin of some great aquatic creature; this may be the inspiration of the name Phenomena Moby Dick, although Jenkins usually says that his works are not meant to be anything other than arrangements of color. (Most of Jenkins' works have names that start with the word "Phenomena"... he has been doing this for forty years or more.)
Here's the official documentation I received for this work:
The artist worked directly onto the stones, which were then etched. He placed the stones in various positions as they went through the press, one at a time, selecting the colors each time, until he achieved the final result. The artist did not have a predefined image in mind prior to making this lithograph and there were no preparatory studies. The lithograph evolved in the same fashion as a painting. The artist had an idea of what he wanted to do in the medium and worked it out, through both working on to the stones and the printing process.Although I really like a lot of Jenkins' other, more colorful works, this work uses color quite subtly, in a way that I think is quite dramatic. The way it has been framed, so that it floats within the frame (the work is actually connected to a pedestal behind the work that cannot be seen), makes it even more dramatic.
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