Martin Art Gallery
(American b. 1925)
Solvent transfer on fabric collaged onto paper
Robert Rauschenberg may be best known for his “combines”. Beginning in the 1960s his creative and prolific output stepped beyond that genre to include a large body of screen and transfer printing. His printmaking, while informed by the tradition of collage, is thoroughly contemporary in material and subject. Rauschenberg transfer printed everyday images from newspapers, and magazines— topical events, motion picture stills, and well-known cultural icons—onto fabric and then pasted them onto a paper ground in unexpected relationships. These juxtapositions raised questions about the nature and effect of subject, the use of impermanent materials, and the role of abstraction in late 20th-century art.
Mock Pollen is an excellent example of a solvent transfer print. The technique provides a quick and effective way to transfer a mirror image of a photo, newspaper, or magazine image, onto fabric. A solvent, often Xylene or lacquer thinner, is applied to the back of the image to be transferred. It is then placed face down onto the fabric. Finally, the image is rubbed, or burnished, onto the fabric. The artist then arranges the fabric images and pastes them onto a paper ground. At this point, additional media may sometimes be added to the entire surface of the work.
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