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Rosenquist uses Mylar for his 'mist'

Rosenquist uses Mylar for his 'mist'

April 18, 2016 // by John Hutcheson

Mylar has many uses. We often think of birthday balloons, window tinting, or food packaging. But it's also an important printmaking material.

John Hutcheson, a master printer trained at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography and an associate professor at the University of North Florida, explains in this text he wrote and recorded about James Rosenquist's collage study for The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 1) (1996/1997), a lithographic tusche and colored ink on Mylar from the Deutsche Bank Collection. It's from a series of audio guides he created for works in MOCA Jacksonville's printmaking exhibitions: Time ZonesIn Living ColorThe Other, and the Permanent Collection.

Audio 203: James Rosenquist Collage Study for The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 1)
Artwork: James Rosenquist, Collage Study for The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 1), 1996/1997. Deutsche Bank Collection. Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Photo Archives, New York.

Mylar is another printmaking material familiar to Rosenquist.

It is the DuPont trade name for a plastic polyester sheet material that comes either clear or frosted, in very large sizes, and is tremendously strong and stable.

It has many uses for artists and especially for printmakers.

For Rosenquist, it started out as development material that he would use for layout masks and positioning tools while making his huge paintings. In that usage, we would never see those Mylar sketches in the finished paintings nor in the finished prints. Their purpose was to help during the construction of the painting.

But in this series of drawings and paintings, Rosenquist has used the special qualities of Mylar as part of the art and the visual statement. Here, the Mylar plastic becomes a flexible layer in the visual atmosphere of Rosenquist's “mist.”

In this series of drawings for his painting The Swimmer in the Econo-mist, Rosenquist is introducing the idea of transparent overlays.

We see these “studies” as individual drawings that happen to be done on translucent plastic.

But Rosenquist must have been laying them over one another and over the painting while he tested his ideas of layers being seen through a frosted “mist.”

Listen to the audio guide here or call 904-248-4197, then press 203.

Find all of Hutcheson's audio guides about Rosenquist here.

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