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Artist Blackwell, Tom
Title SANTA MONICA HARLEY, 1977
Date 1977
Medium screenprint on Masonite
Culture American
Catalog Number 2001.47.1
Collection Contemporary Art Collection
Object Name Print
Credit line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Elliott Meisel, New York
Didactic Information Tom Blackwell's works of motorized, metal forms reflecting light unify his significant body of Photorealist works. His earlier work focuses on the motorcycle and other vehicles like the airplane, and Blackwell devoted later paintings to urban storefronts that reflect street scenes in shop windows. He believed that the complexity of pipes, sprockets, and bars made vehicle machinery look like abstract compositions, and the play of light on chrome surfaces modified shapes and appearances of the metal. Blackwell works mostly from his own high-speed photographs, which allow him to depict the expressiveness of commonplace machines and capture the climax of a visual event. By 1973, the Photorealists had turned to printmaking; they experimented with lithography, etching, and other methods, but the serigraph, or silkscreen, became the dominant print technique. Santa Monica Harley, 1977, is a silkscreen print, a method popularized by the Pop Artists which requires up to 200 separate colors dispensed by as many screens to achieve the precise photographic effect.