Selected Monoprints and Monotypes
Warren Criswell was born in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1936 and has lived in Arkansas since his bus broke down there in 1978. Primarily a self-taught painter, Criswell is also a printmaker, sculptor and animator. He has had 41 solo exhibitions in the United States and one in Taiwan. His work has been included in 72 group exhibitions in New York, Atlanta, Washington DC, Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina, Germany and Taiwan, and is represented in the permanent collections of many institutions, including: The Arkansas Arts Center; the McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina; The Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, AR; the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Capital Arts Center, Taipei, China; the University of Central Arkansas; Hendrix College; the Center for Arts & Science of SE Arkansas; and the Central Arkansas Library System, as well as in private and corporate collections in the United States, Europe and Asia.
In 1996 he was awarded a fellowship grant for painting and works on paper by the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2003 an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant for painting and drawing by the Arkansas Arts Council. Warren Criswell is currently represented by Cantrell Gallery in Little Rock.
My inspiration for this medium comes from the great monotypes of Giovanni Benedetto Castiglioni (often cited as the inventor of the technique), Degas and William Merrit Chase. Like them, I use a basically subtractive method, meaning that the plate is rolled up with a dark printer’s ink (oil based) and the design is wiped and scraped out with rags, sticks, fingers, whatever. I work on linoleum, because I prefer the surface to the usual copper or plexiglass, and print them on my etching press.
In 2000 I made a few prints that reversed this process. First I printed a solid black, then wiped down the plate and rolled it up with white ink. I then wiped, scraped and drew the design as in the traditional monotype, except now I was creating the positive part of the image instead of the negative, so that when printed over the black proof the black showed through. I then brightened the highlights with a little white oil paint. Two examples of this technique are Black Stockings XII: The Blue Angel and Black Stockings XIII. The bluish or greenish tone is the result of the overprinting. (Around this same time I was developing my white-over-black linocut technique.)