The close relationship between painting and the monotype initially attracted me to this way of print making. The monotype is a highly versatile medium, combining painting, drawing, and print making. The term monotype means that the image is unique and can not be repeated from a registered matrix.
Monotypes have been made in Europe as far back as the seventeenth century, but the term itself did not appear in print until the nineteenth century. This method was not viewed as a serious form of print making until well into the twentieth century. Degas and Gauguin referred to their monotypes as printed drawings.
A monotype is made by drawing or painting with oil paint or ink on a smooth surface. Before the inked or painted plate dries, the image from it is transferred to a piece of paper by the use of a printing press or other form of pressure. The term monotype can be misleading because once the ink is transferred to paper, there is often a thinner film or ink remaining on the plate. A second or third ghosts or pulls. They tend to be much less intense than the first image, yet are not necessarily less desirable. The ghosts may be more subtle and atmospheric than the first impression.
The monotype is one of the most innovative forms of print making and provides a fresh way to make a single impression. This method allows for the sequential development of an image, with each stage existing as unique and independent work. It is an effective medium for expressing relationships between sequence, time, and memory. The whiteness of the paper is a source of light, which adds a rich glow to the image. The monotype offers endless opportunities for experimentation.
In many monotypes I use materials from the natural world as a way to collaborate with nature. Considerations about the environment, conservation, preservation, and the life cycle motivate my work. Nature continues to be a major source of inspiration.
Aubrey Clark’s interest in art began at an early age. As a child, she enjoyed watching her father, John Clark, paint portraits. She began drawing, painting, and modeling with clay, often with encouragement from her grandmother, an artist and patron of the arts. Throughout her school years, art consistently captured her attention. She was a student at Sarah Lawrence during the Abstract Expressionist era, and later questioned this approach for skipping drawing basics.
She began drawing from observation and took advantage of opportunities to draw the human figure from life. Looking for a way to give her full attention to art, Aubrey enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts Program at Marywood University and graduated from it with a degree in painting. Shortly afterwards, she attended an experimental printmaking workshop at the Contemporary Art Center in North Adams, Massachusetts. She was immediately inspired by the possibilities for large scale monotypes.