Approaches of the Limit I, 1981
Signed in pencil (at lower right): N.S. Graves ’81. Numbered PP 2 lower left, Tyler Graphics Ltd. chop lower right Edition of 30
Ex. Coll: Pignatelli Collection, CT until May 2018.
Literature: Padon, Thomas. Nancy Graves: Excavations in Print. A Catalogue Raisonne. New York, Harry N. Abrams, 1996. pp. 76-77. Illus. 77.
Like her contemporary Joan Mitchell, Nancy Graves was inspired by the natural world. Growing up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts she became enamored with the taxidermy collection at the Berkshire Museum. The hours spent with that collection informed her interests and work, particularly her sculpture.
In the multi-layered Approaches of the Limit I, Graves is inspired by the iconic 14th century BC Neferiti bust in the collection of the Staatlichen Museen, Berlin. Alluded to by a dot pattern, Nefertiti is hidden in the lower left under layers of bio-morphic patterns and color. The gestural and expressive drawing found in the print echoes the spiny quality of her sculpture (particularly her camels of 1990) and painting of that time. The painting Approaches of the Limit, 1978, is now in the collection of her alma mater, Vassar College, served as inspiration.
This print, executed during Graves’s 1981 collaboration with Ken Tyler at Tyler Graphics, was created using 8 runs of 8 aluminum plates. It is interesting that Flower I by Mitchell of that same year was also produced with 8 plates and many of the same colors. Clearly there was some cross-pollination.