Jim Dine | An Early Editioned Print

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Drypoint, 30 x 22 inches, Edition of 10
Published by Petersburg Press

Details of the signature area and the plate area.
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“Bones of My Body” is a portfolio of thirty drypoint prints depicting various hand tools familiar to and identified with the artist. Each of these hand-held tools is academically drawn with great precision, revealing Dine’s extraordinary skills as a draftsman. As a reference to Dine’s physical self, each tool is surrounded by scratchy lines which appear to be tufts, clumps and tangles of hairs and whiskers.

Drypoint is a very unforgiving process of image making since the artist scratches directly into the plate with no ground and no intermediate process. The burr raised by the scratching holds ink in a very particular way. That raised burr also accounts for the small edition made from these plates as drypoint is so delicate a process that the plate wear is evident quickly. An Edition of only ten with 2 sets of proofs is all that resulted from these plates.

The resulting line — fine and delicate — very naturally suggests tufts or strands of hair or perhaps the graphic depiction of energy. By personalizing each of these tools with the addition of this furry line, Dine makes them more potent as Pop Art icons which they have become.

These prints relate to the “Fifty-two Drawings” which were completed in 1972 as a tribute to Cy Twombly. These drawings are very straightforward depictions of tools, except that Dine has drawn each one as if it was sprouting hair. The 52 drawings are in the collection of Virginia and Bagley Wright.

His sense of humor is apparent in his inclusion of a cheese slicer and other anomalies among the various pliers, wrenches, hammers, snips and grips. These prints are an intimate inventory of Dine’s sense of self as defined symbolically through meaningful objects.

- Greg Kucera