Bob Law was a leading figure in British art from the early 1960s when he was closely involved in the Minimal and Conceptual movements. His work has been associated with the St Ives tradition, and he was certainly influenced by meetings with Peter Lanyon and Ben Nicholson in the 1950s. His work is characterised by a pared-down graphic language, and he creates a range of expressive variations on a theme with great economy of means. This print is from a suite of etchings (his first prints) which continue his concern with diagrammatic or plan-like imagery, and they clearly have formal links with his 'field drawings'. Indeed the etchings are based on a series of 18 drawings made early in 2000. Law's work exploits the fluid borders between figuration and abstraction, and in these prints he plays with various juxtapositions of the signs for a kiss and a cross. These simple linear motifs invoke variously love, religion, rejection, and ideas of national identity, and simultaneously connote affection and connection as well as cancellation and censorship. Some combinations suggest flags, or systems of communication such as semaphore.
There is a close correlation between these prints and the drawings which inspired them. The drawings were made by a kind of etching process, in which the ground is not a metal plate, but the paper itself. Using a ruler and a screw the artist gouged into black-coated Arches paper to the white beneath. The resulting scratched markings were transferred onto an etching plate by the process of photogravure.