Ross Bleckner has been producing nimble and haunting meditations on mortality since the 1980s, but rarely with the stripped-down concision of this recent set of prints. All appear to have been over obituary pages torn from the New York Times, though only in the edition variée September 23rd bis can anything but the page header, number and date be read. In the others an overprinted rectangle covers everything but a narrow external margin.
The page for Tuesday, November 29, 2011, is covered with memorial black, as if the border of a formal death announcement had been inverted. Covering the text of Sunday, November 27, 2011, is a block of black ink that has been perforated with circular openings through which we see, not the text of the newspaper page, but fractured marks of black and gray—a hint of some other image just out of reach. The rectangle over Friday, September 23, 1994, is white and speckled with black and red dots slightly out of alignment, like the coat of an eccentric Dalmatian or a negative version of the painter’s familiar streaking points of light, or—less benignly—a flurry of suspicious moles.