20 unique books.
Edition of 12 with 8 Artist Proofs. Bound in Unbleached and White Linen.
Published in 2015 by Demerritt/Pauwels Editions.
Bone Black is a series of 20 books. Each book is unique, consisting of 16 drawings combined with letterpress printing.
To begin, Brown had four letterpress plates made—two plates were made from quick notational ink drawings, and two were made from printed imagery that Brown appropriated.
DeMerritt/Pauwels Editions provided Brown with folded sections of paper with a 6 inch square printed on the recto and verso of the folded sheet. Brown completed 320 drawings using inks, oil paint, charcoal, and graphite. The drawings incorporate a wide range of marks and move in very different directions and sensibilities. The drawings were done with no reference to the letterpress imagery.
Brown returned the prints to DeMerritt/Pauwels, along with a “key” in the form of a chart. The key provided a system for the printers to follow when printing the letterpress plates on top of the drawings. The system determined the sequence and orientation of each plate, and assured that the imagery would accrue in random order beyond the control of the artist or the printers. Each plate is systematically printed in all four directions (north, west, south, east) effectively taking a 360 degree turn within the square. The formal aspect of printing, and the linear sequencing of the bookmaking process is upended by the existing drawings. The book is both traditional in its adherence to a formal “layout” and at the same time frees itself from convention before the printing is even executed.
The resulting imagery was unknown to Brown until after each page was printed. It is a book that revealed itself in its making.
“The use of systems and random order allows me to be the viewer as much as the maker of the work. Often, I will devise projects that consist of several different processes, with each process blinkered or hidden from the other. My job is to be intensely focused on each process without the knowledge or understanding of what will result when the various processes come together.
“For Bone Black, I felt as if the drawings I was making were seductive traps, laying in wait for the letterpress plates. The drawings I executed had to be enticing and welcoming so as to ensnare the letterpress plates in a web of imagery.”