Long before Andy Warhol, artists had been enticed by the means of creating multiple images of their creations. Durer, Rembrandt, Matisse and Braque were masters of this extension of their art.
As a student at Wesleyan University and at Yale University, Norman Ives showed an early interest in print making. There is clear evidence of his dexterity and passion for the various print-making media.
When Ives and his former classmate Sewell Sillman created Ives Sillman, Inc., its primary aim was to produce a portfolio of screen-prints from Josef Albers’s paintings. The success of these stunning translations brought offers to do the same for other leading artists. Ives Sillman, Inc. became widely respected for the quality of their printing and the elegance of their portfolio design.
Both Ives and Sillman used the same technology to publish limited editions of their own work. Ives utilized that technology as a means to explore varying color relationships. With little cost or time, using the same set of screens, new colors might be applied to the same composition. His insatiable curiosity was more the driving force for the process rather than print sales.
Typical of Ives’s denial of boundaries, there were effortless moves from collage to screen print and from painting to screen print. This constant searching and researching were integral to Ives’s process.
“Ives’s variations on typographic form are at once an aesthetic and conceptual state of the art. When he first took scissors to paper, the digital age was not even a glimmer in Apple’s eye. If looked at through the lens of our current technology, Ives’s work is a precursor. But it is more—his disciplined abstraction is a thing of beauty pure and simple.” — Steve Heller