Printing Perfection Won't Fade Away A New Long-Lasting Ink Formula for Use in Inkjet Printers Is Giving Computer- Generated Art an Entree to Serious Exhibitions and Prices
Windsor, John, The Independent (London, England)
Richard Hamilton, the father of British pop art, now aged 76, has become the leading exponent of the biggest breakthrough in print technology since screenprinting in the Sixties.
For the past 27 years, he has been manipulating painted and photographic images by computer, developing a sophisticated and highly individual style. But the images have languished in his computer because, hitherto, the ink for inkjet-on-paper printing faded after only six months.
For this reason, other professional artists have tended to shun the inkjet, except for producing proofs for publishers. Hamilton, however, has kept on painting with his computer, while periodically telephoning ink and computer-printer manufacturers in Europe and America to ask whether they had yet discovered long-life ink. His reward has been the development in the past couple of years of ink that will last for up to 36 years without fading and, in the last two months, ink with a 75-year non-fade lifetime. The breakthrough has suddenly given inkjet prints a commercial value, thrusting them to the forefront of printmaking - and coaxed from Hamilton's computer a couple of dozen of his finest images that are in a selling exhibition at the Alan Cristea gallery in London. The colours of the new ink - called Equipoise and introduced by the Iris Graphics company of Massachusetts - though water-based (pigment would clog the microscopic holes in the stylus), are more light-resistant than watercolour, lithographs, or screen prints (serigraphs), familiar media whose light-resistance is seldom questioned. Hamilton says: "Their quality would blow the watercolours that Turner used out of the water". Prints with the new ink have acquired a generic name of their own - giclee prints - derived from the French word for "to squirt". Hamilton's work in the exhibition is, at first sight, a mile away from his notorious seminal image of 1956, the tiny 10in by 9in collage, Just What Was It That Made Yesterday's Homes So Different, So Appealing?, which, for the first time, put the word "pop" in the frame, amid a proliferation of images from advertising and industrial design. The dogma and aggressive imagery has dissolved into a softer, more reflective mode. In his pastel-coloured A Mirrorical Return (1998) he used Quantel Printbox software to extract the image of a female nude photographed in the corridor of his home in the Chilterns, then ghosted it into the reflecting glass of a big picture frame, together with a scanned-in transparency of Bachelor Apparatus, a work by his one-time mentor, Marcel Duchamp. The space where the reflected nude should be standing is empty. The result is a dream-like trompe l'oeuil. The muted colour quality of the earliest long-life ink is apparent in the first digital print he produced with it, Bathroom - fig 2, also of 1998, shown here. Having snapped his wife, Rita, wrapping herself in a bath towel, he popped her into the computer and manipulated the background into a Mondrian-like intersection of different coloured spaces. Self-portrait With Yellow is Hamilton's attempt to "get paint into the computer". The original Polaroid photograph shows him looking through …
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Publication information: Article title: Printing Perfection Won't Fade Away A New Long-Lasting Ink Formula for Use in Inkjet Printers Is Giving Computer- Generated Art an Entree to Serious Exhibitions and Prices. Contributors: Windsor, John - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 5, 1998. Page number: 3. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.