(American, b. 1955)
Color woodblock monoprint
Image: 81.7 x 53.5 cm (32 3/16 x 21 1/16 in.); Sheet: 92.5 x 63.8 cm (36 7/16 x 25 1/8 in.)
Gift of Margaret and Peter Dobbins 2020.273
© Polly Apfelbaum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The “rainbow roll” printing technique is responsible for the gradient effect of many of the colors seen on this print.
Polly Apfelbaum’s work builds upon the American abstract tradition of color field, pop, and abstract expressionist painting, while rejecting what she calls the “aggressive masculinity” of these movements. Atomic Mystic Cosmic 16 was stimulated by a year Apfelbaum spent in Italy, when she became fascinated with drapery and colored fabrics depicted in Renaissance and Baroque paintings, as well as the decorative inlay of medieval mosaic floors. For the color, she employed the “rainbow roll” technique, in which multiple colors are partially mixed to achieve a continuous gradient effect. The effect is one of dazzling color and pattern, while also creating spatial relationships that complicate the composition’s hard-edged geometry.
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