Gemini G.E.L.: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005
During the 1980s, Gemini G.E.L. remained one of the most active print and sculpture workshops in operation, and the publisher responded to some of the most current art ideas. Sculpture became a particular focus at Gemini as the workshop published its first porcelain pieces (20.9–20.19) with Robert Graham. Isamu Noguchi completed 28 sculpture editions (37.1–37.23), all but two of them in galvanized steel, an industrial medium not previously employed by the artist. Collaborations in the 1980s also included the first work with Dorothea Rockburne, a project that produced four lithographs on Transpagra, (42.1–42.4), a translucent paper made by layering Mylar between two sheets of imitation vellum. Color was printed on the sheets, which were then carefully trimmed and folded into compositions based on the ancient design concept of the Golden Rectangle. The color printed on this translucent paper glowed richly as it was viewed in layers through the folded-paper relief compositions.
In her premier works at Gemini, Vija Celmins employed intaglio processes that artists have used for hundreds of years. Examples included drypoint, which she manipulated in subtle layers in Drypoint—Ocean Surface (9.1), and mezzotint, which she cultivated for tonal contrast in Strata (9.2). These methods, which do not require the use of acid, are the most direct of the intaglio processes. Next came her Concentric Bearings prints (9.6–9.9), composed of juxtaposed plates containing images of stars, a monoplane, and an optical device invented by Marcel Duchamp. Concentric Bearings A (9.6) utilized other intaglio processes such as aquatint and photogravure, a process that photographically transferred some of the image to the intaglio plate before extensive reworking by the artist.
In the mid-1980s, Richard Diebenkorn generated a series of lithographs at Gemini (15.3–15.8) that were spiritually tied to his well-known Ocean Park paintings. Twelve (15.8) exemplified the subtlety and refinement that the artist could bring to the abstract color lithograph. Almost a decade later at Gemini, Diebenkorn completed among the last prints that he would make before his death. An untitled group of 10 black and white lithographs was developed from drawings on Mylar in preparation for transfer to the matrices. The works touched on a range of stylistic approaches and thematic concerns that preoccupied the artist during his career. Despite his failing health, these works reasserted the exceptional vigor and variety of the artist's mark-making on an intimate scale. In the late 1970s, Susan Rothenberg emerged as a leader in the revival of figurative expressionism. Her six Gemini editions contemplated her evocative figures in various media and unusual supports in works such as the mezzotint Boneman (44.4), printed on wood veneer, and the monumental Tilting (44.3) that combines woodcut and lithography. Other artists who began Gemini collaborations in the 1980s were the Japanese architect and artist Arata Isozaki, who in 1981 created a poster image for the opening of his Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (25.1); witty draftsman and humorist Saul Steinberg created his first print at Gemini in 1981 (50.1); Donald Saff began a series of prints in 1983 (46.1–46. 8); installation artist Dan Flavin explored luminous color fields on a variety of papers in 1986 (17.1–17.9); Bryan Hunt worked on a sculpture/furniture series in 1986 (24.1–24.4); James Turrell created an edition sculpture based on his Roden Crater project in 1986 (53.1); Larry Bell began a series of reliefs and constructions in 1987 (5.1–5.5); and expressionist Malcolm Morley made his first Gemini print in 1987 (33.1). After Serge Lozingot retired as lead printer from the shop in 1998, James Reid became shop manager, a position that he occupies to this day.
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