tv Mosaic World News LINKTV October 15, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT
i'm working on what i hope can become a group of three or four prints. the ideas in the prints actually link together ideas that i've worked with for maybe 45 years. it's at least 40 years that i've been interested in the interplay between the aesthetics of science and the aesthetics of art. and i call my style now "quantum aesthetics." very often, you see the image developing out of modules
which transmit energy from one to another. when i work, i tend to make things that are layered in energy. at least, that's what's in my mind. sometimes i show the layers by offering a detail within a field. here we see a very close rectangle with kinds of flames breaking out of it, but there they are also in a field. which of these two parts of the picture is the detail, and which is the field?
this idea of near and far permeates everything i do. woman: i was called by june wayne to work on a lithograph, to do a collaboration. and this is something that i was delighted to respond to because i had gone to tamarind institute program that she had initiated. and so it really came full circle for me to come and not only enjoy her company, but also work with her. woman: i've known about june wayne
since my first year in art school, but i really never even imagined of ever meeting her. so this is all very exciting for me -- to meet her and to work with her, to have that opportunity. wayne: when i am going to work with a lithographer/printer that i have not worked with befo, it's always a time of great chaenge. in the collaborative process, one has to find out who you're working with. it's like someone you've never danced with before. maybe they're good for a tango, but not a rumba, you know. lithography is tough. judith will do the chemical processing and the inking of the images, but if i don't draw them right, she can't save me from my own mistakes, and vice versa. what i'd like to do now is i would like to blot it.
solodkin: i have certain technical expertise. i like to have intuitions about the artist's work and try to strive for what the artist is after. and as i'm working, i'm moving all the variables around so that i can best achieve those goals. okay. it looks fine except for the fact that that isn't quite open enough. did you blot this? yes, i did, but i should blot it a second time. what happened is i blotted this once... wayne: i try to make the invisible possible to see. everything's a form of energy. not just mental and social energy, but also genes and magnetic fields and particles and all that. maybe this kind of thinking is what gives my art its look.
once i start to concentrate on a particular possibility for a work or for a series of works of art, usually it has been preceded by a lot of excursions into that territory. i have been, as it were, nibbling around the edges of an idea. i gather the materials and the little notations or whatever it is that relates to that, and i start concentrating on that. and i start fiddling around with it. or i may go directly and draw it.
but it's more characteristic of me to start putting it together, to feel my way until i get what i sense is a critical mass, taking that language out of atomic science. when i had some drawings ready, i invited judith solodkin to come to my studio on tamarind avenue in hollywood. this is the same studio
where i started the tamarind lithography workshop in 1960. solodkin: and it was about time, too, i'd say. in 1974, i finished the program. wayne: many master printers were trained here, and artists came from all over the world to do lithography here. and then the next one, the same thing will happen. oh, i see. i decided to work with judith because she was the first woman to graduate as a tamarind master printer. it's really no great problem to hold the solid darks... solodkin: i must go to the artist's studio. i like to look at their ideas, talk to them. and it's like speaking a foreign language. you have to learn the language, and then also learn how to express yourself in that language. this is the kind of territory that i want to move into for the print. they're very graphic. they're almost celestial. what do you mean "almost"?
wayne: i prepared some sketches for judith to take back to new york to experiment with. she needs to understand my art in general, as well as my specific litho techniques. look at that. isn't that delicious? isn't that nice? look at that. now, i like for my art to appeal directly to the senses, as they appeal to me. so this block of crayon is in effect saying, "keep your computer. "your computer can never do what my hand can do with this block of crayon." solodkin: when i was watching june draw today, and seeing all the different textures that she was getting and the spraying that she was working, my chief concern was, could i reliably keep that nuance and that texture in terms of the proof and the edition. so running through my mind is, i hope i can keep this.
i hope i can do this. and usually i always say yes, but then the apprehension comes in. can i really do it? wayne: a lot of my imagery is very abstract and energetic. sometimes when i'm intrigued by a literal idea, i put it into my work in a recognizable form. for instance, i read about knockout mice in the new york times. i was fascinated. basically, the scientists reported that if a certain gene is knocked out of the dna of mice, the males become violent. not the female mice, just the males. so i'm putting subliminal references to knockout mice in the prints i'm going do in new york.
throughout my life as an artist, i've worked in many media, and usually, all of them at the same time. i am, of course, a painter, and i design tapestries and make collages. i work with many kinds of materials and prints. and the reason i do that is that any idea will have many possibilities to it, some of which are expressed best in paint, and some best on a sheet of paper or maybe in some very large work. it's all mine, so i use it. what is really endlessly amusing to me is how different an image can be
with only the slightest change in it, and how something will look quite strange or other than you expected. here are two images which look so different, and they actually come off the identical drawings. the name of it is "escape." here it is in the full spectrum of colors. and here are the same plates in black, white, and gray. in here, this little bit of energy escapes from the picture plane. here the same thing is happening, but they're like night and day. as an example of how ideas come to me, one day i was riding through the third street tunnel in los angeles, and i noticed it looked almost as though the tunnel were breaking up on both sides.
the dividing line down the center sort of rose up and broke into pieces. and as the cars sped by, i realized that off in the distance everything was in focus, but everything was moving in periphery. it made the experience of the tunnel very dynamic. and i could see that the normal shape of the tunnel was breaking down and becoming something quite else. it was becoming the illusion of movement. i thought it would be very interesting to be able to catch that kind of thing in a work of art. first, i tried to figure it out
much the way you might figure out an equation -- by making little drawings that were very small and then little larger ones or a little more complex ones. and then i began making actual works of art until i finally got to a very simple statement of that illusion in the painting that i call "the tunnel." after the tunnel images, i became more and more involved in movement, thinking of molecules that shimmer as they move. my paintings take this illusion even farther. they seem to move as the light changes from day to night. and all this interest in particles and modules coincided, really, with the times in which we live.
there's the explosion of technology. there's the atom bomb and the degradation of the environment, and space travel. it's been a dramatic part of my life. [ whirring and beeping ] i became interested in the theme of space very early. i was able to get a tape of the sound of space as it was recorded by voyager ii. when i listened to this tape, it made even more real for me what i have imagined it to be like in outer space. it's probably impossible for me to do what i'm trying to do,
which is to make real to myself the vastness of outer space. it's something i will never see personally, that i will never hear personally. i would have loved to be able to go up in one of the shuttles. the jet propulsion lab is right nearby here in pasadena. i can go there anytime i want to. and they're very open to the public. i've watched the flybys of planets when the pixels come in, and the photos of space and places that no one's ever seen before. stellar winds, solar flares -- there are all kinds of possibilities
i love the night. in the night, everything can be as relevant as you want it to be or as distant. it's quiet. there aren't a lot of sights, you know, flashing by you. horns aren't going. the telephone isn't ringing. and you can give a lot of concentration on what you want. you can be as free or as foolish as you wish to be. so i find that i can both concentrate and also be risky because i'm alone.
i'm in new york for a month of hard work with judith. i prepared as much as i could, but now my intuition has to take over. solodkin: there's always a surprise. she may walk down the street in new york and see something that catches her eye, and unbeknownst to me, even though everything technically is going well in the shop, this new bit of information may change the work. wayne: actually, i want to link two ideas -- one that's new, and the other one i used in a painting maybe 50 years ago. this was presented
as the two halves of the atomic bomb in life magazine at that time. and i used that image in a painting in 1951, i think. they're quite different contexts. the serrated edges of the two halves fit together, but make a larger contact area so that a nuclear reaction could take place between them. solodkin: what made you think to bring that image back here so many years later? wayne: in a way, i was always hooked on the paradox of that image, what we are capable of, both for good and for evil. and of course, that image represents evil to me.
i'm interested in the nature of nature and the degree to which it obliges us as human beings to do what we do. otherwise, i can't possibly explain what goes on in the world. solodkin: inside up and plate side down. it's nice. it's transparent through here. isn't that lovely? oh, that's beautiful. yes. i want to look at it on the wall so that i can make sure the placement -- i'll take it over there. i want to make sure... yeah. can you move that about half an inch to the left?
wayne: those two images of the half -- they look like helmets almost, look heavy, and there they are floating. and you keep expecting them to fall, right? so the thing is full of tension. solodkin: and the image that it's floating on... wayne: represents natural energy before we got our hooks into it. but what i tried to do in drawing the image was to allow it to be a very free kind of energy, contrasting with what we made of that energy. very strange. very mysterious.
yeah. when i finish a painting, it feels very good because i controlled it all myself. when i finish a print which is collaborative and has a lot of dangerous moments, then i feel like i just finished a marathon. i'm tired, and i feel lucky. solodkin: well, congratulations. but naturally. thank you. you're welcome. that's good. okay, call it a day. -- captions by vitac -- burbank, pittsburgh, washington