Bob Schneider, The Night Way (2018)
- Etching, 29 x 22 1/4 inches. Printed and published by Flatbed Press, Austin, TX. .
Edition of 24, ()
The Night Way is a large, hard ground etching by Austin-based artist, poet and musician Bob Schneider, printed and published by Flatbed Press. Utilizing the verso side of a canceled copper plate found at Flatbed, Schneider developed this image as he typically does, drawing whatever comes to mind; in this case, he responded in harmony with the unintentional marks on the back of the plate. It’s a messy image with moments of vivid specificity and Lynchian strangeness. As an image and a title, The Night Way suggests a dark and brambled, chimerical whirl of precise dream fragments that can only partially be recollected in the light of day. In Schneider’s dream, a figure submits to the viewer by turning away, the head cocked slightly, exposing a small ear, arms crossed behind the back in a contorted and unnatural pose. The arms, hand and head are described with very fine lines drawn closely together in undulating waves. These marks interact serendipitously with the found marks already etched into the used plate. Environment and mood are created by that history of materials and process, by the acid that bit into the back of the plate in its earlier life, seeping into the central seam between the sheets of contact paper applied as a protective backing. As a result, the spines of the plate and of the figure merge auspiciously. Appropriately enough, the plate is the matrix and the skeleton for the figure as it twists. The back of the old plate is the back of the new figure. It can also be seen as the neglected underside, the underbelly, the unreachable subconscious. There are echoes here of the unsettling lithographs of Odilon Redon and of the tortured Sainte Sebastienne by Louise Bourgeois.