Celmins’s prints treat aspects of the natural world—the sea, the desert floor, the night sky—with painstaking subtlety. This work, from a series on spider webs, was executed using the technique of mezzotint. By first abrading the printing plate to produce an overall dark ground, the artist then burnished areas to indicate the lines of the web in a lighter tone, to create an unusual negative effect. Discussing the motif in a 2002 interview, Celmins remarked, "Maybe I identify with the spider. I’m the kind of person who works on something forever and then works on the same image again the next day."
Signature: Signed in graphite at lower right: "V. Celmins"
Inscription: Numbered in graphite at lower left: "20/50"
Vendor: McKee Gallery
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," May 9–August 7, 2017.