• Beatriz Milhazes | Dovetail
  • Beatriz Milhazes' print Dovetail, upclose woodblock

    Dovetail woodblocks


    Dovetail and Flower Swing, Milhazes' two most recent editions with Durham Press, began with a proofing process much like her other prints - Milhazes created initial sketches before arriving with the intention of making a diptych of two prints of the same format. These plans were quickly altered, however, when proofs of the diptych were pinned up next to each other and it became clear that the two images were so visually cohesive that they had the potential to create a powerful, singular print - a potential realized in the print Dovetail. Each released as editions of forty on Fuji DHM-11 Kozo Misumi 536gsm paper, Dovetail measures 33 5/8 x 72 5/8 inches and is printed in sixty impressions with forty-nine colors, while Flower Swing measures 33 1/2 x 37 inches and is printed in forty impressions with forty colors.


    With this discovery, the diptych was united in a way reflected in the title itself - the central geometric blocks where the two prints have been combined mimic the woodworking technique "dovetail" which combines two pieces of wood together in a strong union, a meticulous process that reflects the craftsmanship involved in combining the two images. By creating a single print, the elements on both halves of Dovetail begin to play off each other: two gold leafed stars seem to burst in opposite directions, while thin, hand-cut woodblock lines angle cohesively throughout the print. Curves like the ripples of waves and playful flowers stand amongst colorful geometric blocks and uniform circles. Through its bold colors and closely packed design, Dovetail still maintains balance as it is intercut with delicate hand-painted designs inspired by fabrics brought by Milhazes. The original diptych works symbiotically, truly "dovetailed" - even creating the shape of a dove's tail where they meet.


    Flower Swing, the right half of the original diptych, was editioned alongside Dovetail. The works almost appear as a triptych that has been “dovetailed” together much like the previous print – each third of the print is divided by color and form but are still drawn together as their rays radiate from the center. The two prints, which share several woodblocks, unite relief, screenprint, and gold leaf in complex, harmonious compositions that present stellar and botanical motifs, evoking the interconnected movements of the natural world. Though beginning as the same image as the right half of DovetailFlower Swing remains unique through its drastic change in color and motif, bringing a more organic motif to the forefront. A detailed column of silkscreen flowers, much like the hand-painted designs in Dovetail, sit at the center against a background of curving lines and interlocking orbs, all surrounded by geometry. With this juxtaposition of abstraction and organic motifs, Flower Swing creates an impact as strong as Dovetail.


    The stories Milhazes tells are not linear. They are perennial and fundamental: the passage from day into night into day, from storms into calms into storms. Presented in a visual language that brings together international abstraction and Bra­zilian vernacular, Milhazes’s explorations of such timeless themes reveal her unceasing ability to create work that is both universal and immediately recognizable as her own.




    These new editions, as well as several other prints from Milhazes' more than twenty years of working with Durham, are available directly through the Press. For more information, please contact us at sales@durhampress.com.