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HENRIK SIMONSEN | 'BLUE BUTTERFLIES' PRINT EDITION RELEASE

March 31st 2017
Featuring a single tree with butterflies for leaves, Danish artist Henrik Simonsen’s new print edition ‘Blue Butterflies’ displays a rich colour palette of silvery gold tones with a range of crisp blues.
Since the release of his extremely well-received screenprint ‘Fragile’ in 2012, Henrik Simonsen has looked to revisit the idea of portraying tree leaves and foliage as butterflies. It’s an image that has a lot of personal significance for the artist, and he has since touched on the concept in his original works on canvas, as well as in the 2015 screenprint edition Red Leaves. In the new exclusive edition with Eyestorm, Blue Butterflies, he takes a more direct approach to the idea, pushing the boundaries and exploring his intentions to their full capacity.

Having thought about what angle he would take with the new print for some time, Simonsen began to make sketches with different compositions and colour combinations. He has had blues firmly in mind for some time, inspired by a recent trip to Antarctica where, ignited by the fact that he was immersed in a world of almost only blue and white for such a period of time, his love of the colour grew considerably. His solo exhibition in the US that followed the trip included several paintings that were exclusively blue, and so it was decided that this would be one of the main focuses of Blue Butterflies.

The predominant ultramarine blue that features in the print is a colour Simonsen had in the past found difficult, however in recent months it has been dominant in several paintings as the artist has become more drawn to its warm tones. He wanted the background of the print to be pale in order to push the ultramarine to the front, and also wished to experiment with metallic - something he had rarely explored in his print work. Establishing that he didn’t want the print to feel too ‘cold’, he decided against his original thought of using silver, and felt a pure gold was too much, so had the idea of mixing the two together to come up with a beautifully sophisticated pale gold after being inspired by the golden glow of a desk lamp onto a silver surface in his Berlin studio.

More sketching followed and Simonsen came up with a composition for the image that he was happy with - a singular tree standing strong in the centre of the page. An original print, all elements are drawn onto true grain before being made into screens, with no digital involvement whatsoever. A painter at heart, Simonsen applies the same making techniques to his prints as he does his paintings, which develop gradually as he builds up each layer, reacting to the results of the previous layer with the next. In many ways it’s like creating an original artwork in a multiplied format.

A new departure for Blue Butterflies which makes it stand out from previous editions is the fact that it uses a combination of both lithography and screenprinting - a first for Simonsen and something he was very much looking forward to getting involved in. Working at Worton Hall Studios, he threw himself into the lithographic process, which he found opened up for a whole new set of options, before continuing with the screenprinted layers he was more familiar with.

For Simonsen, the idea of the butterfly tree is about the importance of living life to the full, the beauty of the here and now, but also how fragile our existence is. In 16th and 17th century painting, the butterfly was often used to symbolise the human immortal soul. This is not necessarily what Simonsen sees Blue Butterflies as being about, but there is a sense of it present in the piece. Simonsen said he has “always felt there is something almost magical about butterflies” and that he feels “the same way about life”.

Blue Butterflies is an 11 layer combined lithograph and screenprint in an edition of 60. See the print in more detail, along with other available work by Henrik Simonsen on his artist’s page here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
HENRIK SIMONSEN
Blue Butterflies
 
 
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