Gothic Cab Drivers (a five day interval), 2010, Intaglio monotype on Rives BFK,
42 x 60 inches
It is difficult to understand exactly what it is about Johnny Plastini’s work that makes it so captivating. Tracing through the chaos of knots and lines, bouncing back and forth between voids and tangles, connecting each piece to the larger visual whole – these all contribute to the optical aerobics his works induce. But when given the chance to step back, you can’t help but wonder how is he doing this? What is the process behind the commotion? These questions – this process – become crucial parts of the content. At their core, Plastini’s works follow in the tradition of intaglio prints. The means by which the results are achieved, however, are less traditional. This is, in part, due to the restrictions Plastini felt were inherent in conventional practices, particularly those related to scale. To combat this and expand his works, he began employing large masonite planks, while abandoning the traditional engraver’s burin in favor of dentistry tools and hole saws. As a result of this process and the use various types of paper, the multiples that are created through Plastini’s process are never exactly alike, as one would expect from a standard printing process. Instead, every state is distinctly different, with ink spreading or sticking in different places with each printing. Here, Plastini releases a fixed artistic grip on the works and allows chance – aided by a printing press - to take its turn. The mechanized nature of the printing press and Plastini’s tools seem at odds with the curving, sinuous lines found in many of his works, but this seems to be part of the point. In our highly technological and industrialized world, we experience daily instances of the clashes between nature and machine. What is revealed in Plastini’s work, is the inherent harmony, chaos, and elegance that can occur as a result of those intersections.
- Regina Lynch
More information available at Johnnyplastini.net