This book is the result of three years research and study of the Journals of one of the most significant artists to emerge from New Zealand. Max Gimblett, who has lived and worked in the United States for some forty years, has made his private Journals available for the eyes of others in a way that is unprecedented for him. It is therefore a significant act of generosity on his part to reveal many of his most intimate questions and concerns during his life in art since 1968 when the first of these Journals was opened. If much of the work here enunciates difficulties and problems, it is simply that the Journals have been the place where an otherwise joyful artist has expressed himself to himself, tho it must be said that what readers will find here are questions, sometimes deep and troubling ones, rather than doubts or outright despair. As he himself writes, 'There is no one looking over my shoulder, here'. The Journals reveal an artist as serious as we know him from his paintings, but one whose interests and whose drawings are often much more varied and wide-ranging than the paintings might otherwise propose. It is the work of this book to reflect that variety and enlarge the sense that we might have of the artist at work.
The words and pictures from Gimblett's Journals have been chosen and edited by Alan Loney, who has been given unrestricted access to the full collection—an access that very few others will enjoy during the artist's lifetime. Yet it has not been possible to be fully representative of the richness that can be found in the pages of these extraordinary documents. The exigencies of letterpress printing alone has automatically excluded for example some of the most beautiful watercolor washes the artist has achieved. And drawings that are of lines with subtle changes of strength and color could only be reduced to a flat monochrome by the letterpress process. So, while there is still an incredible range of material to choose from, that range has often been narrowed by purely technical considerations.
Max Gimblett writes in capital letters, and he always has. It was felt at the outset that that should be replicated in this book, and a search was made to find a typeface that at least approximated his handwriting; the type chosen has the artist's approval, as has indeed all the material reproduced here.
The book is edited, designed, and typeset by Alan Loney. Loney, poet and master-printer, has had a long association with Max Gimblett’s work and previously designed and printed The Dogs of Auckland: poem by Robert Creeley, drawings by Max Gimblett for The Holloway Press in 1998. The Press is honoured to present this latest collaboration between them.
Printing is by Tara McLeod on an Asbern cylinder proof press. The paper is damped Magnani mouldmade paper and the artist's drawings are on BFK Rives and were executed at the artist’s studio in New York. The types are Andale Mondo in various sizes for the artist's texts and Palatino for all else, and both texts and pictures are printed from photopolymer plates supplied by Nippy Graphix, Auckland. Binding is carried out by Bound to Last, Auckland, and is in quarter cloth with Canson paper-covered sides, Canson endpapers and housed in a cloth-covered slipcase. Page size is 294x240mm, 11 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches, 60pp. Bound into each volume are two original ink drawings by Max Gimblett, every one being different.
The edition is 80 hand-numbered copies, of which numbers 17 to 80 are for sale, and all are signed by the artist and the editor. Price is NZ$1200.
Searchings was launched at the Gus Fisher Gallery, The University of Auckland, on Thursday 16 March, 2006.