There Will Come Soft Rains is an epic portfolio of 12 four-color, four-plate etchings plus colophon by Matthew Day Jackson. Jackson’s work explores the dichotomy between the past and present and the narrative of his own identity within history. For There Will Come Soft Rains, Jackson re-etched old Audubon plates made during the 1930s, creating new prints. Using iconic symbols of conservation, each Audubon bird sits in front of an apocalyptic event from history.
There Will Come Soft Rains takes its name from the 1920 poem by American poet Sara Teasdale. Each of the twelve prints has one line from the poem, that Jackson hand-stamped into the plate. The poem imagines nature’s reclamation of a post-conflict battlefield. In Teasdale's words, "… not one will know of the war, not one/ will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn; Would scarcely know that we were gone."
There Will Come Soft Rains was created using 12 Audubon copper plates etched in the 1930s found and acquired by Collaborative Art Editions. The copper engraved plates were hand tooled and created from Audubon plates owned by the American Museum of Natural History. In addition to each Audubon plate, Jackson made three plates to provide full color to the images. Jackson has masterfully orchestrated a portfolio between three American artists (Jackson, Teasdale, and Audubon) from different eras using iconic images of the past to address contemporary issues of today.
Unintended, three of the twelve birds in the portfolio are now extinct. The Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet were both slaughtered to extinction, and the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is possibly extinct after destruction of its habitat by man.
There Will Come Soft Rains encompasses Jackson’s layered practice as well as his personal interest in Americana.
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There Will Come Soft Rains, Matthew Day Jackson, 2015/16
.Matthew Day Jackson, There Will Come Soft Rains, 2015/16
Portfolio of 12 Four Color, Four Plate Etchings with Colophon
Paper Size 27 inches x 20.5 inches; Plate size varies
Edition of 36 + 4 AP; 4 PP, 1 BAT, 1 WP
Printed by Christopher Creyts
Published by Collaborative Art Editions, St. Petersburg, FL
Presented in a black linen clamshell box by Hope Bindery, Rhode Island
There Will Come Soft Rains
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
by Sara Teasdale (1920)