Atomic Mystic Portraits | 2016

In the summer of 2016 Polly Apfelbaum produced 40 monoprints with Durham Press during a week-long visit. Titled Atomic Mystic series, the prints were made in three sizes with distinct identifiers—Atomic Mystic Particles (13 5/8 inches squared), Atomic Mystic Portraits (25 7/8 x 17 inches), and Atomic Mystic Puzzles (25 inches squared).

The series was created with the assistance of six printmakers who inked hundreds of woodblocks in assorted colors and patterns, including rainbow rolls, which Apfelbaum has been incorporating into many of her recent prints. The artist then spontaneously placed the blocks in printing jigs to explore different color combinations and compositions. These range from structured grids to starburst motifs to geometric, botanical imagery inspired by the Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla’s vibrantly painted wooden flower sculptures.

A departure from Apfelbaum’s previous collaborations with Durham Press, the Atomic series arose from a process similar to that of her sculptural and painting works, such as her “fallen paintings” consisting of many dyed fabric components that the artist arranges in situ on the floor, or her Feelies, which are made of colorful plasticine and clay that is left unfired so the pieces can be changed and reworked over time. Adaptability and fluidity are key features of much of the artist’s oeuvre, and the Atomic Mystic series represents her most concerted effort to integrate these concepts into her printmaking process. Created quickly, each monoprint serves as a kind of printed sketch, revealing unexpected moments of variation and exuberance.

Monoprints from the Atomic Mystic series, as well as other prints by Polly Apfelbaum, are available directly through Durham Press. For more information, please contact Gwyneth Fearnhead.


DSC_0246 copy





Polly’s in the studio

Polly Apfelbaum  was very busy in the Durham Press studio last week. Polly has been working on a new series of Rainbow prints- this set of 4 prints uses the same 32 colors and 130 wooden sticks.

Split Ribbons 1 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 37 1/4″ x 69 3/4″

Split Ribbons 2 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 37 1/4″ x 69 3/4″ 

Split Ribbons 3 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 37 1/4″ x 69 3/4″

Split Ribbons 4 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 37 1/4″ x 69 3/4″

The process of making the prints is shown in the snapshots below. Polly starts by selecting a color palate, the the individual wooden sticks are inked, Polly then creates an arrangment or pattern for the colors, the inked sticks are placed into the jig according to the order, the paper is loaded into the etching press and an impression is made. The prints are then placed on a drying rack for several weeks until the ink is completely dry. Click here to watch a video of the etching press in action. Please contact us for pricing and availability.

New York Foundation for the Arts recently intereviewed Polly in her New York studio. Polly discusses beauty, color, her career, challenges and her new work and recent exhibitions. Click here to watch the great interview video.


New Dogwood Alley prints by Polly Apfelbaum

Dogwood Alley 2 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 32″ x 68″

Dogwood Alley 7 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 32″ x 68″

Dogwood Alley 9 | 2011, Woodblock Monoprint, 32″ x 68″

Polly Apfelbaum was at Durham Press in late January working on new Dogwood Alley black and white monoprints. A total of 8 prints were created during Polly’s visit. One Dogwood Alley was created in 2010 making a total of 9 unique prints. The monoprints are made with woodblocks that are handmade cross sections of various Dogwood tree branches and trunks from Bucks County, PA. Each block is individually inked and then placed by Polly. The print then makes 1 pass through the American French Tool Etching Press. The prints are then curated and put on drying racks for several weeks until the ink is fully dry. Please contact Durham Press for additional images and information [email protected].

Woodblocks- Dogwood tree branches and trunks

woodblocks and press

Printing Dogwood Alley- January 2011


Polly Apfelbaum at D’Amelio Terras

Please join Durham Press in congratulating Polly Apfelbaum on her new exhibition at D’Amelio Terras-Polly Apfelbaum: Off Colour. The exhibition will feature a floor based installation. The opening is from 6-8pm on Friday September 10th at 525 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY. Check out the Durham Press website for available editioned prints and monoprints by Polly.

Color Field Notes | 2009, Woodblock, 20 1/4″ x 20 1/4″, Ed. 43

Rainbow Park 2 | 2006, Woodblock Monoprint, 79″ x 79″


Summer Favorites

Summer Greetings!

Durham Press is having another busy summer. We have had visits from Mickalene Thomas, Hurvin Anderson, Beatriz Milhazes, Polly Apfelbaum and James Nares. Durham Press is excited for new editions which will be launched in the fall.

Here are some summer favorites…

Hurvin Anderson

Barbershop print

Barbershop | 2010, Woodblock and Screenprint, 35 3/4″ x 28″, Ed. 40

Polly Apfelbaum

Little Dogwood 2 | 2009, Woodblock Monoprint, 20 1/4″ x 20 1/4″

John Giorno

Welcoming the Flowers: Sunflowers | 2007, Screenprint 16 1/2″ x 16 1/2″, Ed. 70

Beatriz Milhazes

Açúcar (Sugar) | 2009/2010 Woodblock and Screenprint, 31 1/2″ x 47 1/4″ Ed. 40


Thump | 2009, 10 Color Screenprint, 58" x 40", Ed. 44

Thump | 2009, 10 Color Screenprint, 58″ x 40″, Ed. 44

Alison Elizabeth Taylor

Idylls: West Tropicana | 2007 Arches 88 300g West Tropicana – 16 3/8″ x 18 3/4″ Edition of 45

Ray Charles White


Gravure Bubble Studies | 2007,  Photogravure, 16 1/2″ x 16″, Ed. 35


COLOR NOTES: Polly Apfelbaum Prints at Locks Gallery

Polly Apfelbaum’s Color Notes will be exhibited at the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia February 3 – 25, 2010. The exhibition coincides with the opening of Philagrafika, Philadelphia’s celebration of printmaking in Contemporary Art. Color Notes is a beautiful survey of the large-scale monoprints entitled Parks that Apfelbaum has been making at Durham Press over the past eight years. The Parks measure 79 inches square and range from iconic flowers, complex stripes, playful zig zags to dense fields of organic dots. The exhibition will also showcase a selection of smaller works, including her most recent edition Color Field Notes.

Each of the massive monoprints in this exhibition is made from hundreds of individually cut and inked woodblocks. They are arranged loosely or in jigs, then embossed with a large hydrualic press into a dense sheet of handmade Japanese paper. The results are breathtaking, especially at this scale, and push the print beyond its expected boundaries. As with Apfelbaum’s large floor installations, these prints explore and celebrate the endless connections between color, sequencing, rhythm and shape.

All of the prints were created and published at Durham Press. Apfelbaum has worked and collaborated with Jean-Paul Russell since 2001. Durham Press is a fine art print publisher based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Since 1988 Durham Press has been making edition contemporary prints with influential artists from around the world.

For more information please contact Ann Marshall at [email protected] or call 610-346-6133.

Installation images courtesy of Locks Gallery


Polly Apfelbaum launches new monprints at this year’s New York Print Fair

Durham Press will launch several new Polly Apfelbaummonoprints at this year’s fall fairs. New work will include smaller  sized “Love” woodblocks (the flowers),  as well as some remarkable new “ZigZag” prints in a grand scale.

Priced at an affordable entry point, there will be new “Love” monoprints in sizes ranging from 12″x 12 to 20 x 20″. The prints were originally made as part of Polly’s conceptualization for a new edition, but they were so successful as unique prints, and fitting for our changed economy that we made a group of them in different sizes for this year’s fair.

WAVE PARK – five new 79 x 79″ monoprints have just been completed Wave Park 3 will be exhibited at the fair.


Polly Apfelbaum’s monoprints in production

This month has been a busy one for Durham Press, as we have had four different artists out here working in the studios in the last four weeks. With both the IFPDA Print Fair in New York City and the INK Miami Print Fair right around the corner, we are working hard to get all of the new work ready to show at these major events. Polly Apfelbaum kicked off the month with a two-week stint at the Press. You can see her here with Jason working on the first of three new Love Parks. Days after finishing the last of the three prints, they were picked up and delivered to the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia, where Polly’s show Big Love is featured in the first floor exhibition space.

Polly & Jason

In the two photos below, you can begin to get a sense of the process that goes into making Polly’s woodblock monoprints. Each block is individually inked and situated, and then a number of blocks are printed simultaneously in the hydraulic press. The piece that JP and Jason are loading into the press is another one of Polly’s new Love Parks.


Jason & JP - Love Park

The scale of the production of Polly’s prints is hard to imagine without seeing pictures of it. In addition to JP, Polly and the three full-time studio staff members, we also bring on additional help while Polly is here, because the more hands you have to clean and ink blocks the better. At any given time, there can be upwards of eighty different colors rolled out and ready to use on dozens of different sized and shaped blocks. While JP, Jason and Polly are generally working in the press room, you can have anywhere from three to five people in the big studio prepping the blocks to be printed. In the image below, you can see Polly grabbing blocks while Jackie and Jeremy are busy inking.


Polly & Jason 2

Polly & Chris