Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chemigram summit in New York

It was Sunday night June 2, and we were five flights above West 40th Street, more than a dozen of us gathered from three continents, practitioners of the subtle art of the chemigram.  The elevator had broken and you had to climb up a sinister, badly lit stairwell, but no matter: Pierre Cordier was here on a rare visit to New York, holding forth, making pronouncements, examining work brought before him like so many offerings.  Others will summarize and analyze the evening, there is time for that, and substance aplenty to animate future discussions.  At the outset, the simple fact of his presence (as though mythic) was enough to dazzle and beguile us, while as the evening wore on his spirited banter put us more at ease and each of us were allowed privately to wonder at how fortunate we were, all of us, to be together.  It was indeed an historic moment, sixty-one years after Cordier's invention.

Pictured above L to R are Matt Higgins, Eva Nikolova, Paul Kleinman, Gundi Falk, Douglas Collins, Pierre Cordier, Jett Ulaner Sarachek, Nolan Preece, Franco Marinai, Norm Sarachek, and Richard Turnbull.


  1. It was a great four days and thanks to you Doug for pulling it al together. And of course to Von Lintel Gallery whose exhibition of several of Pierre and Gundi's new images was the catalyst. Some amazing work in the process is being done in Australia, Utah (are they near each other?), NYC and even PA.

  2. It was indeed a momentous occasion. To have Pierre present and just being able to talk to him was a real treat. Thanks Doug!

    Nolan Preece, from Reno,Nevada (and it is a little closer to Australia).

  3. It was a historic summit indeed and I feel extremely grateful to Doug Collins for having made this happen. It was an incredible opportunity to meet with Pierre Cordier, to meet with other active chemigram practitioners, and to see the various directions chemigram practitioners are exploring.
    I am tempted to summarize very briefly (please correct me) like this:
    1 – about chemigram display: some prefer to display only ORIGINALS and do not use scanned reproductions (Cordier, Higgins, Kleinman) while others are comfortable with using scanned reproductions (Nikolova, Collins, Preece, Sarachek, Turnbull)
    with more (Sarachek, Preece) or less (Nikolova, Collins, Preece, Turnbull) digital processing/modification. I guess a further distinction ought to be made between those who process a chemigram for size only or for color correction or for both. Myself, I have chosen a somewhat different path, that of making a chemigram on orthochromatic film to be used as a transparency to produce a very limited edition copper plate photogravure.
    2 – about the object of the representation: the majority seems to prefer a non-figurative , informal approach, with a different measure of formal- shall I say geometrical ? -preoccupation (more: Cordier, Higgins, Turnbull) (less: Preece, Collins, Saracheck) while others (Kleinman, Marinai, Nikolova) seem to favor a more figurative approach.
    Well, that’s a start. It was really really great. Thanks Doug!

  4. Thanks Franco! I enjoyed seeing your work. You have a remarkable way of bringing printmaking to the chemigram.

    I think the "purists" at the summit have definitely inspired me. Over the past week or ten days, I have been making originals on 16x20 paper with plans to work even larger. I have also created a permanent "blue" using the gold toner formula GP1. I think toning with the permanent metal toners such as copper, selenium, gold and iron would make a nice variation to the chemigram. First 4 images at: Is toning allowed?

  5. Everything is allowed : toners, paints, ink, glue, little explosions, flowers. What is required is authenticity. That and the sense that you will risk everything for it.

  6. As a teacher I must try everything I can think of in order to be slightly ahead of the student, to give them ideas, to stimulate their imagination. Hopefully my style or self expression shows through. I will try Pierre's technique and Matt Higgins's so that I better understand it. Try to walk in the master's shoes so to speak.