Printmaking 101: Reductive Serigraph

We’re thinking a lot about serigraphs (aka screenprints or silkscreens) right now as Michael Hagan’s exhibition “Doodle Digit Dot” goes up next week.  We’ll have images and more information about his printing process next month (for now, you can check out his blog entry on halftone screenprints to get an idea of his work and process).  In this entry we wanted to talk about another WPG artist, Andis Applewhite, and her interesting process of reductive serigraphs, which got a lot of questions during her July solo exhibition.

"Freedom 5" by Andis Applewhite, reductive serigraph

You can best understand the process by watching her videoof the process (click the link to see it).  But here’s the basic idea:  Andis uses a water-based resist on the screen.  A resist blocks the screen, so when the squeegee is pulled over it, the ink will not go through to the paper in area’s that have been painted.  Using a water-based resist means Andis can easily manipulate any marks she’s made–picking up areas with a wet sponge or moving the resist around to create a textured background.  However, using a water-based resist also means she must use an oil-based ink.  Oil based ink can be cleaned off the screen with mineral oi or turpentine (or other similar paint thinners) without affecting the water-based resist.  If she used a water-based ink and tried to rinse it off with water, the resist on the screen would come off, too!

Andis starts with a large area of color and prints that first.  In the video, it looks like she started with a black.  Then, she paints the resist on the screen.  The black will remain visible in these areas.  You can see in the video that her second printing of yellow was another large area, with only a few brush-strokes of resist leaving the black from the first layer visible.  Finally, in the video, you can see her painting another layer of resist.  Anywhere this resist doesn’t cover is then printed white.

You can see examples of Andis’ reductive serigraphs in the gallery.  You can also see Michael Hagan’s very different screenprinting process starting next week. Come in and compare the two for yourself!

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