Memory Cupboard for W.B. Yeats

Date 2020
Technique Monotype
Price $425.00
Exhibitor The Annex Galleries
Contact the Exhibitor 707.546.7352
Buy From / See At This Exhibitor's Site

Memory Cupboard for W.B. Yeats is a color monotype created in 2020 by American artist, Kevin Fletcher. This impression is pencil signed, titled, dated, and inscribed “(I/I) / Monotype (unique) in 4 passes.” It was printed by the artist on ivory Rives de Lin wove paper and the platemark measures 9 x 6 inches.

Fletcher is known for his brooding imagery of deserted buildings, landscapes, and anti-war themes. With Memory Cupboard for W.B. Yeats, he delivers a thoughtful homage in pure abstraction. Fletcher refers to his technique as working reductively from rolled-up inks to which he applies his tools (cardboard or matboard pieces) to disturb the ink and bring up the light and expose the image.

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, dramatist, writer and one the foremost figures of twentieth century literature. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He wrote the poem “Broken Dreams” in 1915 after Maud Gonne rejected his marriage proposal when he was fifty-two years old. It was published four years later in a collection of poems titled The Wild Swans at Coole. The final lines of the poem “Broken Dreams” read:

The Last stroke of midnight dies. / All day in the one chair / From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have / ranged / In rambling talk with an image of air: / Vague memories, nothing but memories.

Kevin Fletcher, painter, printmaker, teacher, collector, and curator, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on 7 May 1956. He received his BFA in printmaking and graphic design from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1978 and, the following year, he attended Northern Illinois University for graduate study in printmaking and art history. In 1981, Fletcher earned his MFA in printmaking from Syracuse University. In the early 1980s, He worked for six months at Grafica Uno in Milano, Italy. Fletcher taught drawing, printmaking, watercolor, history of printmaking, and western art history courses at the Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California for thirty years. He was the Visiting Studio Artist at Pennsylvania School for the Arts, California State Fullerton, Shasta College, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Seattle Printmaking Collective, and San Jose State University.

Fletcher has had at least twenty solo exhibitions and he has been included in numerous national and international group exhibitions. He curated a number of exhibitions at the Santa Rosa Junior College during his tenure there. Fletcher was awarded First Prize in Printmaking from the Berkeley Art Center's Annual National Exhibition (2007), a First Award from the Greater Midwest International Prints Exhibition XIV at Central Missouri State University (1999), Monotype Award from the Pacific Prints Annual at the Palo Alto Cultural Center (1992), First Prize in Printmaking from the Berkeley Art Center's Annual National Exhibition (1990), and First Prize from the Fourth National Print Exhibition at the Westwood Center for the Arts in Los Angeles (1981).

Kevin Fletcher's work is represented in the collections of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Hunterian, University of Glasgow; the Frans Masereel Centrum, Kasterlee, Belgium; the City of Portland and the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, New York; the Robert F. Agrella Art Gallery, Santa Rosa Junior College; the Jundt Museum at Gonzaga University, Spokane; the Syracuse University Art Museum, New York; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; the University of Wisconsin at Waukesha; and the Martin von Wagner Museum at the University of Wurzburg, Germany.

"I have [been] making these unique prints since 1985 but worked in a painterly additive manner until 1997 when I came around to working reductively (Black Manner) from a rolled-up solid black ink, with tools at hand. This was at a demonstration in Pennsylvania. It sort of surprised me as discoveries do at times, and I soon began to layer the marks to suggest deeper space. The tools themselves suggested an architectural solution to the image, though I had already been gravitating toward this in painting. The urban over the pastoral. I have taught art history in California and in London so I am acquainted with a good deal of referential touch stones, if you will. I also collect prints but I have no aid to my composing an image when working, so if Piranesi, Canaletto, Goya, or Brangwyn might be suggested, it is only that the drama occurring in my action / reaction, direct making of the image found this a way of solving the pictorial "chess match."  I have little in mind at the outset, turning the Plexiglas as I work in my removal and re-instatement of the ink. I try to keep my vision open (unlocked) and not "wish" an image into being. It often comes obliquely into view.

There are sometimes cinematic references and a kind of eddying back upon my own black and white photos from travel, but this is often a subconscious, vague element in my thought process. It is really essential that I can gradually see the whole image come into view, almost like the darkroom development, so the speed of my mark making remains in cadence and does not resort to petty affectations, related to a specific location or cause. (Certainly the 'play books' of the Abstract Expressionist painters Kline, Hoffman, and de Kooning, are dear to me, too!)  The great advantage to doing monotype is its relative speed compared with other print technologies, so results can build a momentum in a short time. Remaining ink on the matrix may provide a further direction or tangential suggestion. The layering of added and removed areas of ink, made with sundry commonplace tools allows a kind of reading of reality despite the mere theatrics of direct execution. Little is finessed or the image begins to lose its conviction to its guiding cause of a balanced discovery. It is a happy balance between print and drawing methods and those of the painter. If my work appears a little sentimental or nostalgic, it isn't anything but a connection to gradually surfacing memories or hopeful expectations that infuse results."