“It is one thing for the artist to have a certain magic and produce a certain magic but for the technicians and the press […] to get it is something truly special.”
-Helen Frankenthaler, quoted in an interview at Tyler Graphics, Mount Kisco, 11 July 1994, Sound Reel 10
Los Angeles, CA (September, 2020) – Mixografia is pleased to present Helen Frankenthaler: A Certain Magic, featuring a series of editions created in collaboration with Helen Frankenthaler throughout 1989. Being mindful of the health and well-being of the public and Mixografia staff, in lieu of an opening reception, Mixografia will host a live-streamed interactive walkthrough of the exhibition. The date and time will be announced soon.
In 1989, Frankenthaler produced a series of monumental editions with Mixografia after visiting Los Angeles, on the occasion of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s grand opening and during which her work was featured. Already well-known for her prints, she saw in the Mixografia process an opportunity to expand the possibilities of her work within printmaking. She employed a wide range of multimedia techniques, including poured wax, power tools, layering material, and brute force to create printing surfaces that achieved a level of depth and textural complexity akin to the built surface of a painting.
Frankenthaler fostered in her printmaking a collaborative approach that in many ways contrasted the solitary nature of her studio practice. She says about the process of working with printmakers: “I wanted things that I couldn’t at times articulate […] but between our exchange we got this music”. Through her creative synergy with Mixografia, Frankenthaler was able to overcome the technical specificities of print media, and ultimately achieved the sense of gestural spontaneity that was central to her way of working. A Certain Magic emphasizes her embrace of the medium’s experimental potential, in all the ways it differs from and relates to her general approach to artmaking.
Helen Frankenthaler exemplifies the freedom of experimentation and departure from convention with which she and a generation of artists to follow are synonymous. Her decades of reinvention helped bring about a new direction in the course of mid-century Modernism, with her soak-stain technique defying the dominant modes of abstraction toward a new distinction in the realm of action painting sometimes called post-painterly abstraction. Whether in her prints or her paintings, there is a thread throughout all of Frankenthaler’s work that is born from transformation, chance and choice entwined in the pursuit of pure expression.
Helen Frankenthaler: A Certain Magic can be viewed in Mixografia3D, and will remain archived on this platform indefinitely.