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Alice Spencer


The genesis of this series of monotypes was my experience at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan where I was an artist in residence in 1998. I went to observe and work with the park's ancient Cambrian rock formations as a way to further explore the archeological and geological sources of my work.

Much to my disappointment I found myself living in a ranger's cabin 30 miles from the cliffs. Nearby, however, were a stream and a magnificent 12-mile stone beach bordering Lake Superior. Using the imagery of stones (smaller versions of the cliffs), I explored the same ideas I set out to: deep geologic time as a metaphor for the complex, layered nature of human experience.

In subsequent work I continued the beach stone iconography and reference to 'flow' adding new information or 'debris', both biomorphic and man-made, to the imagery. The current work no longer references the stones but simply the drifting and layering of signs. The 'flow' iconography mediates the introduction of new ideas into my prints.

Monotypes are unique prints made using a plate with a flat surface; no two are alike. Each print in this series is made with as many as 6 layers using a combination of plates and stencils. Preliminary layers are printed using a press. In the remaining layers the stenciling is done by hand.