Nap Suite IV | Benjamin Merritt

Medium: Etching
Year: 2020
Edition size: 18
Dimensions: 14″ x 22″
Inscriptions: Edition, Title, Signature (front)

Nap Suite is a series of six drypoint intaglio prints made during Benjamin Merritt’s residency at Spudnik Press, created from a single intaglio plate. After each print, the artist scraped and burnished away each line of his handwritten poem, which is about the double nature of rest that results in both healing and invisibility for people with chronic illness. Coming out of earlier prints focused on the physicality of illness itself, Benjamin’s new work turns to language as a way of challenging the common story around illness and the conventional medical language that is rarely in his favor, as it insists on patient blame, quantified suffering, and metaphors of violence. His laborious and sculptural plate-making process gives the copper surface the physicality of a living body, expressing a nuanced and non-linear experience of changing thoughts and feelings. This multi-layered palimpsest of indelible marks reads as much like an echoing melodic chorus, or a dreamlike narrative, as it does like scars or ghosts.

Benjamin Merritt believes in the performative power of language to construct reality and experiences, especially those of the body and illness. His Nap Suiteprints are part of his larger artistic project to challenge conventional stories about chronic illness. He has a BFA from MIAD and was a Jerome Emerging Printmakers Fellow at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. He was a Spudnik Resident Artist in February 2020.