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Untitled, undated

Materials: Mixed media monoprint, 37 3/8" x 24 5/8”.

Location at Summa Health:  Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, fifth floor, hallway outside patient rooms H5-117 and H5-118.

For this untitled monoprint, Marvin Jones used the weave of the dyed paper to create areas of textural interest, especially clear in the red and blues of the heads. These heads, as well as bodies and limbs, have been highly abstracted, or simplified, and yet are easily recognizable (profile is the easiest way to depict all the essential features of a face). The wide-open mouths of the two left figures make us think of speech, perhaps shouting, and contrast with the right figure, who appears to be silent but expressive, wide-eyed with arms raised. The long, skinny vertical of this figure’s body also contrasts with the undulating curves of the central figure, tilted beyond its center of gravity (we sense this from how Jones represents its head far in front of the body) and appearing to run.  These simplified forms and actions are almost comic, except not: The running figure creates a sense of urgency, and both it and the small figure seem focused on, perhaps upset by, something far to the left of the print. It is not represented but whatever it is, it’s probably ominous, judging by the cumulative effect of gestures and faces of these three strange but compelling figures.

This work is a one-of-a-kind print (“monoprint”) on paper. Jones manipulated form, color, and texture on a matrix (a block or piece of glass or other firm ground) and then impressed it on paper; that is, he used pressure or a printing press to press the matrix against a recording surface, in this case, paper. This created a single “impression” or print (and, if you think about it, this process reverses the image from the matrix). Monoprints contradict the advantage of printing – that you can create identical multiples from one matrix — by allowing the printmaker to distinguish one work from any other, by varying the details of/in the matrix from one impression to the next. Here is an introduction to this highly flexible printmaking technique.

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