Subject Matter

The work that I have produced for the past several decades is narrative and has consisted mostly of 'scapes', studies of cities as well as studies of industry. Areas of cities are often times 'hidden' – obscured from city dwellers. By using aerial views one is able to see the whole or parts of the city from different vistas. By incorporating as well the city dweller, pertinent to an aspect of the city, one can read the occurrences, e.g., wind, the geography, and the activity of the city.

A recent China Series is representative of a series of photos taken in China – these photos comprise a quadrant of views of Chinese in their architectural landscape and in their varied activities. Within the 'scape', water and sky play important roles.

Art history plays an important role in new works, e.g., Luca Signorelli's murals from the chapel in Orvieto, Italy, are reconfigured into a series of paintings concerning Tuscany, its history and its landscape.

John Singer Sargent's painting of Isabella Stewart Gardner plays a significant role as an icon in a work of Boston.

Color in the paintings and prints is always extremely bright and high pitched. I utilize a saturated pallet to strengthen and become a strong element for the 'language of the work'.

Cityscapes in current work have been changing for me in the studio since the 'siege' of September 11, 2001 and the Iraqi war. No longer can the cityscape be solely a vision. It is a meaningful, significant aspect of our humanity and our accomplishments as a productive society.


As a painter and printmaker with a background in architecture and the history of technology, I utilize the advanced technology of the laser printing machine in combination with heat transfer, a contemporary method that is archivally secure. Heat transfer printmaking permits an enormous amount of creativity in terms of coloration and assemblage, along with the advantage of immediacy. In traditional printmaking, e.g., intaglio, lithography, woodcut, or serigraphy, one develops an eye for line, form and color, connected to the tools used in each particular printing technique. The heat transfer process permits the exchange of thinking so that the black line is comparable to the 'incised' line of the burin on the copper plate of the intaglio process. If one is using areas of color, such as that exists in the aquatint of etching, these areas are thought of in terms of gradations of color and the imagery and textures placed upon the canvas are thought of as areas for use in printing and what the transition will be when printing these areas. It is a difficult transference but an integral part of an evaluation of how to approach the elements of a particular print on the laser printer.

Large prints are often conceived of in sections (grids) – for while the painting is valid (it is the 'plate for the print'), the painting is the matrix for the print and should work on several levels. A recent innovation in the heat transfer process is to print the image 60% or 70% smaller than the original edition. Separate editions are made in this instance. Another deviation of heat transfer is the Detail. 'Details' are monoprints (single edition prints) made from parts of the heat transfer; thus Details re-use the images. These works are collections of disparate elements, where each may have lost its original voice, but are placed together and mold themselves into a strange, exciting whole where the visual sum is equal to its parts. In certain ways it makes sense to push the work further and create a reinterpretation by blocking out or collaging the central features of many of the individual images.

– Phyllis Seltzer