San Francisco, CA: CoTangent Press, 2008. One of 5 copies, 4 of which are for sale, of this gum printed diptych, signed by the artist, William T. Vollmann, on the front cover. Page size: 18-3/8 x 18-1/8 inches; 4pp; including covers. Bound by the artist: paper over boards that has been painted with heavy impasto small white paper label on front right corner reading, "Pongmalai / Garland/ A Bichromate / Diptych / Bangkok 9/11/01 / William T. Vollmann / 1/5 / 2008" and another white paper label on lower right corner reading, "CoTangent" with the press's device in the artist's hand, interior heavily painted forming borders within which the two gum prints are mounted, housed in custom-made black cloth clamsh box with black morocco label on spine, stamped in gold gilt with artist's name and title. The actual images are of female genetalia covered by flower garlands so the subject matter is not immediately discernable. And, while the label dates and places this work as 2001 in Thailand, the printing was accomplished in 2008 in Sacramento.
The Gum Bichromate Process ( a contact printing process) is extremely delicate, diffucult,and dangerous - due to the chemicals used in the process. Each color of a seven-color gum print is printed with a different negative and developed with a different pigment, and all must be in register on "sized" paper. Further each layer must be printed two to six times. The final print has a depth of color and shade not achieved with other print-making techniques. William Vollmann has employed the successfully employed this technique resulting in images that are at once mysterious, fragile and beautiful. His decorative painting of the portfolio housing the prints is a perfect complement. Item #10168