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Emi Winter, "Seis Aves," 2003

This suite of six, multicolored relief prints displays the artist's signature use of color, which takes its inspiration from both natural and cultural sources. Winter, who currently resides in Los Angeles but was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1973, received her BFA from Oberlin College. While in residence at Chinati in 2001, she took Polaroid photographs of the variously hued light cast by Dan Flavin's fluorescent sculptures and details of Donald Judd's one hundred aluminum boxes, both installations maintained by the foundation. These became the basis for a series of her blended ink relief prints.

The production of such prints is technically daunting, involving the seamless gradation of colors during a single roll over the plate. Obtaining consistent editions required a high level of printing skill and patience. The distribution of color and surface consistency of the prints are so meticulously even that it is difficult not to mistake them for digital inkjet images.

Winter was not educated in abstract art, much less minimalism, and came to her style through the persistent observation of details. "Seis Aves," which translates from the Spanish as "Six Birds," reflects both the colors of her Oaxacan heritage and a willingness to investigate challenging techniques. The shimmering bars that hover in their fields of color invite intimate attention, yet remain mysterious illusions.

by Bill Fox

Note from publisher:

I have exchanged emails with Bill Fox in an attempt to convince him to reconsider the phrase he used in the second paragraph of the above Emi Winter review... " it is difficult not to mistake them for digital inkjet images."

It takes significant skill to know which keystrokes to use to obtain the desired digital end results, but those results are for the most part soulless. The process Emi Winter and I used is not a machine based process, rather human based. Each color is mixed with a spatula on a table top, subtle color nuances of hue, value and saturation are seen first hand with no electronic translations. Although Bill did, by email, agree that rich layered relief prints are..."So physical that, by comparison, (digital) it's virtually sculptural on the page." Bill also went on to say "It's just such a different process. So what was meant to be high praise came out as the obverse or something!"

Users of the technique have grappled with what to call digital prints: Iris Prints, Giclee, Piezographs, Carbon Prints, Pigment Prints, or InkJet. Advancements have been made in hardware, software and the ink formulae but there is little difference in all of these processes. There is a beauty to be seen in some inkjet prints but for the most part they don't survive second looks.

Recently I viewed a black/white photo exhibition in which the artist foolishly put beautiful silver prints in the same exhibition with inkjet prints. The depth and glow of the silver nitrate prints were completely missing in what appeared to be professionally printed, large format, inkjet outputs. There is of course a place in the fine art world for inkjet printing since it is just another tool; in fact, there is the probability of using the technique as part of a sculpture in Majlena Braun's Volume #7 of the 30X30cm. series.

Comments are encouraged on the digital subject. I will add opinions and views to this page as they are received, send to: