Bas-relief and sculpture

Moving from two dimensions to a third appears to be another example of Ives’s experimentation with various media. Like his mentor Josef Albers, a wide variety of materials and techniques were explored.

In an unexpected reach, he chose to dissect anodized metal printing plates and reconstructed them accenting their iridescence. Larger constructions, some six feet or more, were mathematical progressions defined by square pegs of varying heights.

Letterforms remained the dominant subject. A few bas-reliefs came from Victorian wood type cut into triangles for a reconstruction. The game was akin to cutting English broadsides of the same period for collage, except for the distinct tactile element and the light continually transforming its architecture. At times the depth of relief was slight, perhaps less than one half inch. These works were generally finished with a matte surface of either black or white.

Reversed Grounds was obviously a construction that Ives thought worthy of rendering in numerous media. It was twice painted, once silk screened, and finally made as a stunning bas-relief. In the three dimensional version the original five values of gray are expressed by five depths of relief.

There are several small models in wood as fully defined sculptures. Only one was scaled up to fill a square area of 40 inches.


“The intensity and complexity and individual personality of the works are amazing. The way the design and size and shape are appropriate to the typographical and color substance of the material elements used. It is an art of delight.” — Leslie Katz