We call these large paintings "posters" because they were painted to be mounted and viewed on walls. This kind of presentation, whether silkscreen art work or rock band advertisements or iconic images of revolutionary idols or campy images from cartoons and movies, make up an important part of the graphic carnival of the 1960s milieu in which d.a.levy lived and worked. His posters advertise nothing, and perhaps we could, with tongue a little ways in cheek, call them exercises in destructive posterization.
For some of his editions, levy painted large strips of paper, then cut out covers from them to bind the books. Librarians who have had them rebound have destroyed unique covers, unconsciously emphasizing the themes of ephemerality and destruction in some of levy's work.
The two posters reproduced here were done on large sheets of clay-coated stock given to him by D.r. Wagner. It's difficult to reconstruct levy's working methods. Ingrid Swanberg, Bill Markhardt, and I had some fun trying to puzzle it out, leading us to reminscenses of Speed Ball Inks and other tools and media available in the 60s. levy may have used a toothbrush in places, and some passages look like he took something like a "dry brayer" approach, and in places he apparently painted through a coarse fabric of some sort. In these instances, levy greens, ranging from idyllic to acidic, make appearances, along with his other favorite color range, maroon. In the maroon areas, it's particularly interesting to note how he can lighten the color without turning it into pink. Darkness plays a key role in these works, but so does a hint of something like "dawn," as Swanberg puts it.
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Copyright © 2000 by Karl Young
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