Simulacrum II (2015)
Etching / Engraving by Sheila de Rosa


  • Etching / Engraving, Paper
  • From a limited edition of 25
  • Size: 14.96 × 21.65 × 0.39 in / 11.57 × 15.75 in (actual image size)
  • Signed and numbered on the front

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Sheila de Rosa

United Kingdom

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Artist's description:

This is a double plate print, which means two plates have been created and inked up in contrasting colours and printed and registered exactly on the printing press, one over the other. The Print Technique used is called Solar Plate Printmaking which is a non-toxic printing method which exposes images onto a Polymer coated metal plate using UV light.

This is a new body of work that aims to explore the power of the partially obscured, or inadequately seen, photographic portrait. In these prints a powerful abstract swathe of ink threatens the image with invisibility and doing so adds potency to the impassive face.
We live in a world in which the art of memory seems almost obsolete, having been outsourced to communications technology, through which perfect, high-resolution images and information are endlessly uploaded and reproduced. These contemporary methods of digital record-keeping led me to wonder what impact this would have on our perception of ourselves; and what affect the proliferation of so many perfect representations of the human face would have on the appreciation of old and unclear photographic souvenirs, and whether their very fragility by contrast would confer some mystery and power on these fragments.

This triggered a new direction in my practice and an exploration into the impact of partly obscured portraits. Francis Bacon stated that his portraiture sought to "Deform into the Truth" and in a similar way these prints aim to reveal by obscuring the unique nature and moment when this image was fixed for all time.

One plate is inked in the traditional Intaglio method in white oil based ink onto black 100% cotton rag paper; the second plate is inked in the Intaglio method and registered exactly over the first plate on the etching press. The red image was created by me using Chinese ink and carborundum (a sort of black sand) using controlled, gestural mark making and mindful of the relationship between that plate and the one beneath; the white image on black paper is a photograph which was given to me to use in my work and which I loved.

The edition size is 25, and the prints are all numbered and signed on the front, beneath the image and embossed using my SdR logo.

Materials used:

Two polymer coated metal plates. Oil based etching inks. 100% Cotton Rag paper. Printing Press