CONTEMPORARY MONOTYPE PHENOMENON

Untitled (Cup)

Untitled (Cup)
Robert Cumming, 1987
color monotype, 66 x 96.5 cm
(26 x 38 in.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by Henry Cabot Lodge


Cumming Biography

In the hands of an experienced and intellectual artist such as Robert Cumming, the visually appealing effects of the monotype process can become the primary vehicle for expressing content. The flamboyant marbling effect in the background of Untitled (Cup), the decorative swirls, and the ostentatiously wiped line that defines the outline of the cup--in fact, a trophy form that signifies triumph or accomplishment--convey the idea of the object as well as its form. Cumming's images have been described as "meditations," an observation he embraces. "I love ordinary things, the manufactured things of our time; chairs, cups, birdhouses, light bulbs, rulers, etc. With a simple alteration here, one of these object-archetypes can be as temporal as the cast-iron bank or the dirigible; with a simple alteration there, it can be projected into a longer-lived family of symbols."


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