Skip to main content
Rupert Deese

Pale/1, Pale/2, Pale/3, Pale/4, 2002. Etching and white ground aquatint.
In each print a narrow white line traverses an arc one meter in length across a densely worked field of color. The trajectory of the arc varies from slightly exaggerated in Pale/1 to extremely subtle in Pale/4. These images were first explored in The Center of The Lake, an artist’s book in collaboration with poet Todd Young, published by Manneken Press in 2000. In the etching suite the format of the image has been narrowed and lengthened; the warm brown of the book’s serigraphs has been replaced by a spectrum of shades in the cadmium and cobalt families. The plates were worked in a similar manner as Deese’s Iris/1 – Iris/6 suite (2000, Manneken Press) with layer upon layer of white ground aquatint and line etching to yield a rich and subtly nuanced surface texture. The color in each print is derived from a single, pure pigment which was mixed by hand with plate oil to form the ink.

While essentially abstract, these images have a relationship to perceived experience (as well as to the artist’s large circular, dimensional Ripples and Waves paintings): each Pale image is actually a shallow section of an ellipse that a swimmer would perceive as the ripple he creates in a still body of water spreads outward and away from him.

The plates are densely worked with hard and softground line and many layers of whiteground aquatint. The suite consists of 4 prints titled Pale/1 – Pale/4. They are printed from single copper plates 7 1/4″ x 39″ in cadmium orange, cadmium red-purple, cadmium maroon, and cobalt turquoise inks on 10 1/4″ x 44″ Hahnemühle Copperplate bright white paper in editions of 25.