Water / Fern / INK
A Limited Edition Photogravure Portfolio by Abelardo Morell
(click on images to enlarge)
Edition of fifty portfolios and five Artist’s Proofs
The photogravure plates were made by Paul Taylor and hand printed by Erin Sternfels on Rives BFK at Renaissance Press in Ashuelot, NH
Each portfolio contains five photogravures
Each photogravure is signed and numbered by the artist
Portfolio box: 19 3/4″ x 24 6/8″ | Paper size: 19 5/16″ x 24 5/16″ | Image size: 15″ x 20″
Edition 1 – 20: $5,800
Edition 21 – 30: $7,800
Edition 31 – 40: $9,800
Edition 41 – 50: $12,800
The Making of Water / Fern / Ink
© 2019 Mark Katzman
“Ink-based photography, the photogravure, has been embraced by the most preeminent image creators in the history of the medium including Talbot, Stieglitz, Strand and Man Ray. It is a mis-understood, daunting process that when executed successfully, results in a beautiful aesthetic otherwise impossible to achieve. The essence of the photogravure, velvety ink deeply impressed onto fine paper, extends beyond a singular visual experience into the tactility of the physical object . Morell’s photogravures, are a bold, beautiful and unique application of this special, time-honored print process.”
—Mark Katzman, Photographer
WATER / FERN / INK is a suite of five photogravures I’ve made to help raise funds for my son, Brady Morell’s, first independent feature film, which he has written and will direct.
I love how ink looks when it meets paper; it is a phenomenal thing to take pleasure in.
For this suite of fern images, I used two old ways to make pictures with ink – the cliché-verre technique for arriving at the images; and photogravure for the production of the prints.
Cliché-verre is a method of picture reproduction devised in 1839 by Fox Talbot – the English inventor of photography. Later in the 1850’s, the French artists Corot, Millet, Daubigny and others used cliché-verre. The artists applied dark ink or soot from a candle to blacken glass sheets, which when dry, allowed them to scratch drawings on the glass surface. The hand-drawn image on the glass plate was then sandwiched with photographic printing paper and exposed to light in the darkroom in order to come up with a photograph of the drawing. This hybrid art form combines printmaking and photography in a delightful and inventive way.
In my process, I applied black ink onto glass plates in order to draw and paint my designs. I also pressed ferns onto the still-liquid ink. In some cases, when the ink was dry, I photographed the glass plates with actual ferns resting on top of the ink to suggest other vegetative dimensions. When satisfied with the result, I scanned the glass negatives to create digital files, which in turn could be converted to allow for etching the image onto a copper plate.
The second process used in these prints is photogravure.Photogravures are photographic images etched into copper and printed traditionally with ink.
In seeking a unique way to make prints of invented imagery of ferns and water, I decided that photogravures provided the right partner to my cliché-verre pictures.
Something about the way a copper etching holds and transfers ink to a beautiful paper makes for the perfect translation of an elegant process that begins in ink and ends with ink.