I have been publishing letterpress limited edition books and broadsides as the Moonkosh Press since 1985. The name of my press is a phonetic spelling of the place in Hungary from where my maternal grandfather, Joseph Klein, emigrated to New York City’s lower east side in the early part of the 20thcentury. When it came time to come up with a press name I quickly realized that I wanted to honor my grandfather within the realm of “Arts and Letters” because he had never had the opportunity to go to school beyond the age of ten or eleven. He always felt badly about his lack of formal education. Despite that, or because of it, he was a very gifted storyteller in the oral tradition. All the kids in our neighborhood would come to hear him tell stories when he would visit. We would often ask him to repeat our favorites and he readily complied. Many of those stories began, “Back in Moonkosh…
A letter, every letter, cast in antimony, tin and lead, over and over again. Lined up, spelled out, in reverse, heavy to hold, magical to print, ink coating metal, transferred onto paper, punched into paper, actually, but not too hard. Easy to love, the forms and their function. A stupendous invention in its day, replaced in industry but embraced in the artist’s studio.
This exhibition opportunity has allowed me to look specifically at the work I produce more experimentally than projects that involve collaboration with a writer or other artists. In these prints, I allow myself to combine texts and images that illustrate the internal conversations I have about loss, kinships, texture, form, color, acquired wisdom and the unforeseen. Though labor-intensive, these prints are actually gestural and immediate. This sort of studio practice is extremely nourishing. It flourishes in an atmosphere of trial and error and tried-and-true curiosity.
Diane Fine is a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York-Plattsburgh where she teaches printmaking and book arts. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her BFA from Syracuse University in New York. She exhibits regularly and her work is represented in a number of public and private collections including: The New York Public Library, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum Library, St. Lawrence University and the National Library of Canada.