Jack W. StauffacherAmerican (San Francisco, California, 1920)
Untitled, from the series Shifting and Inking
Employing the repetitive process of mark making, San Francisco–based printer Jack Stauffacher explores the ways in which the mind, the hand, type, ink, and paper come together. His body of work articulates a profound knowledge of historic typographic traditions while also revealing an appreciation and understanding of modern design.
Stauffacher deploys a collection of large, wooden type previously used in the printing of posters, filling each page with seemingly random, unspaced letters that hover somewhere between Russian Constructivist typography and a visionary landscape. Recalling the rectilinear grids and primary color palette of the modernist painter Piet Mondrian, Stauffacher's compositions suggest a minimal, almost architectural space where type is neither ornamental nor communicative but rather a structural device for each blank page. The spaces between the letters accumulate into uneven lines, cracks, and gaps where the white of the page shines through and becomes a compositional element of its own.
To create each series of prints, Stauffacher incorporates traditional letterpress inking techniques as he repeatedly, and somewhat subconsciously, moves the type through the bed of his press in a casual manner, allowing for new and unforeseen outcomes. This kind of experimental work provides the artist with an opportunity to leave behind the rigidity and precision required by more traditional typography and embrace the medium's potential for randomness and spontaneity.