Nanette Wylde
On Longing

On Longing is a series of 50 unique monoprints. Each print is a mandala which contemplates and celebrates the natural world.
The series takes its name from Susan Stewart's book: On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection.

Cut stencil monoprints
Oil based ink on Rives BFK
Paper size 20" x 20"
Framed size 22" x 22"

On Longing I
On Longing V
On Longing XXI
On Longing XXIII
On Longing XXVII
On Longing XLIV
On Longing XLV

On Longing VIII
On Longing XII
On Longing XIV
On Longing XIX
On Longing XXII
On Longing XXVIII

On Longing XXIV
On Longing XXXII
On Longing XXXIII
On Longing XXXV
On Longing XXXVII
On Longing XLVII
On Longing XLVIII
On Longing L

I had been wondering if I could make work about our global situation of mass extinctions that was not negative, sappy and/or in-your-face political. I am particularly affected by the fact that the African elephant is expected to be eliminated from Africa in about eight years if the current rate of poaching for ivory continues. Then there are the huge issues surrounding colony collapse disorder for one of our primary pollinators, bees. It has been challenging for me to make work about such losses that is positive. I wanted to create a series of prints which celebrates non-human life and also has the potential to bring attention to these issues in meaningful or thoughtful ways. I created a formal problem of working in a mandala or circular composition, and a technical problem in that the images are created from a cut paper stencil monotype process. My goal was to create ten unique prints during the summer of 2015. The process was so engaging for me, on all levels--conceptual, technical, aesthetic--that I continued to work on the series for an entire year. It was completed during the summer of 2016 with 50 unique prints.

I first read Susan Stewart's book, On Longing in 1995. It is a text that I think about often. Conceptually, I think aspects of the book fit well for this series, although I was not making the prints as a reference to the text. The title, and the association in my own mind, came after the series was finished.

I create shapes and design a variety of (circular) patterns with them in Adobe Illustrator. These are then laser cut into newsprint to create stencils for printing. Oil-based ink is rolled onto a large plexiglas sheet. Dampened Rives BFK printmaking paper is then laid on the press bed. The stencil is placed on top of the paper. The inked plexiglas is then placed on top of the stencil with the ink side down. I then flip this print sandwich so that the printing paper is on top. When ready I crank the handle of the press (Takach etching) so that pressure is evenly applied to the entire surface of the printing paper, transfering the ink from the plexi through the stencil to the paper. I then remove the printed paper from the press and hang it to dry. Oftentimes I will run a second paper through the press which creates a ghost image, or I will remove the stencil from the inked plexiglas and print what ink remains on the plexi.

It takes multiple layers of this process to create each print, and I cannot tell with any precision how each layer will work with the previous layers before I print it. Should visual cohesion in a print become lost, I must figure out how to bring the image back via this same process. This is a large aspect of the pleasure I experience in printing this way--the challenge of resolving an image.

After each round of printing, I hang the prints on my studio wall to look and consider what might come next. Many elements are planned to work together, and just as many happen via the process. I continued to make new stencils as this series developed.

Contact Nanette at nwylde at preneo dot org