Ligon took advantage of the velvety textures and embossments that are possible with aquatint and etching to create the densely layered surfaces in these prints. Here he quotes from texts by two preeminent African American writers: Zora Neale Hurston's essay "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928) and Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man (1952). By alternately highlighting and obscuring the black words and letters against white and black linen, he has underscored the authors' thoughts about being a black person in a white society. The prints belong to a larger, signature body of text-based works on paper and canvas in which he manipulated the same heavy, stenciled typeface.
Gallery label from New to the Print Collection: Matisse to Bourgeois, June 13, 2012–January 7, 2013.