At 88, Jasper Johns has made a large new intaglio that looks at death and does not flinch. The central, skull-headed, shadow-like figure wears an undersized hat, and holds a second skull over his crotch—on this spot, the plate is polished clean, making it the brightest point of the print and a grinning, indubitable focal point. A leaf shape suggests a rib cage, cut through with chevrons and a line like an arrow through a heart. The figure is backed by a broad plank of the woodgrain motif Johns often uses—here realized in vertical strokes of puddled spitbite. The result is a composite form of figure and wood, like an upright coffin nursing a corpse. The entire plate is comprised of sugar lift and aquatint with spit bite done in eight separate applications.
Jasper Johns , Untitled (2018)
- Intaglio with chine-collé on Gampishi White laid down on Whatman Crestwick watermarked “handmade J Whatman B,” paper hand torn to 37-1/2 x 26-3/4 inches. Edition of 36. . Printed by John Lund at Low Road Studio, Sharon, CT. Published ULAE, Bay Shore, NY. . $40,000..