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Viscosotypes & The Viscosities


This on-going series of works revolves around the fractal-like patterns, often called viscous fingering, produced when a high viscosity liquid (or gas) is injected under high pressure into a lower viscosity liquid (ink). I’ve always been interested in fractals, not just as abstract, mathematical expressions, but methodological and visual ones as well. How do I create a body of work that’s devised from a fractal-like process? These works, which sprout from a random discovery at the printing press, encapsulate the ubiquity of fractals as seen in plain sight throughout our world. This body of work consists of a unique form of printing developed in my studio. The resulting prints I’ve termed viscosity monotypes. From these prints come a variety of analog and digital art objects of hand crafted and generated origins. Together they create a kind of self-multiplying microverse of shapes, patterns and objects with an evolving mythology of their creation and purpose. 


The Spiral-Verse

The Spiral-Verse is the culmination of nearly six years of research, experimentation and iteration within the viscosity monotype body of work. This piece  was installed at Cove St Arts in Portland, ME, for a group exhibition titled Gargantua & Lilliputian--curated by studio friend, master printer and artist David Wolfe of Wolfe Editions. The installation plays off one of the centrally atractitive qualities of fractal geometry--the inifinite self-similarity at ever greater and diminishing scales. The goal was to create a body of work that is not only visually fractal, but made by a fractal-like process of self-reference. A fractal of a fractal of a fractal, and so on. Even more, the work is distilled in the continuation of derivitive works--such as the characters featured in the section below.


The Spiral-Verse
325 Scroll-sawed viscosity monotypes on hardboard with acrylic and lacquer.
Approx. 11’ x 8’
2021

The Viscosities & Other Works

The characters below, otherwise known as Viscosities, were digitally extracted from the print (also below) The Elder. The Elder is of the first generation of impressions made in this body of work. Contained in it, such as all of the impressions made in this series, are a multitude of characters or beings. Each of these characters is considered a whole-part, that which is simultaneously whole unto itself and part of another whole. They are the building blocks of the subtle, evolving mythology of this expanding body of work.


Meroloch the Many Limbed
Carved MDF, acrylic paint & rubber ink.
25” x 42”
2021



Viscosities of The Elder
Digital extractions
2018
The Elder
Scanograph inkjet
54” x 34”
2018


Untitled Drawing
Graphite on paper
6” x 6”
2018


Copyright 2022 Carter Shappy