CAA Panel: Proof

A guest post by Stephanie Dotson.

5:30 on Friday, February 11th CAA Panel coordinater Brant Schuller brought together panelists for the SGCI panel Proof: Printmaking as Evidence. The panel addressed the idea that printmaking can document past activities in a way that becomes a contemporary fine art gesture. The inherent directness of the printed mark is the proof, from Rauschenburg’s tire prints to Denise Hawrysio’s situational prints. All of the artists discussed these matters in the context of their own work and then one panelist ropes the other panelists in a lasso. I have proof.

Schuller’s own prints are a sort of recording of history. His series of “ TV tracings” are prints where gestural contour lines are layered by tracing directly from the TV screen.


Elizabeth Dove. Letter A Sequence Quicktime.

Panelist Elizabeth Dove showed a body of text art where an obsessive cutting of word definitions in the dictionary transforms word to image and idea. Further dictionary work included a series of multiple layered silkscreen images where all of the illustrations of a certain letter in the dictionary are enlarged and silkscreened in successive layers of black ink, creating massive black knots of clip art. The graphic functions neither as language or image but exists within the balance between legibility and chaos.

Elizabeth Dove. Letter A closeup at angle.

Jeremy Lundquist showed his several states of his “notice closed” series where a 3 months residency at the Sputnik Press resulted in an edition of state prints where one plate is sequentially etched, scraped and erased in a series of prints. Each bears subtle markings of the previous  as imagery materializes and disappears. Images in this series have significance of place and disappearance, such as a “closed “notice found on a Denny’s door (hence, the title). Jeremy’s method is a way of removing the preciousness of the tradition of etching and then striking a retired plate to a more democratic treatment of the plate where one image can be just as easily (laboriously! Scraping, sheesh.) erased as created.

Jeremy Lundquist. Worked plate and printed result.

Panelist Victoria Star Varner questions how the cowboy and cowgirl image became the ubiquitous icon of the U.S.. Victoria showed many idealized western-style publicity shots of her own Rodeo family standing with western gear and guitars on the range. In Victoria’s own work she sets plates on the floor which she marks by transferring graphite on the rope to her plates via “Trick roping” . These graphite marks are then traced and engraved. This act of engraving, cleans up the marks left on her plates, mirroring the way that the idealized west our culture projects is in fact a cleaned up version of the reality of ranch life.

Victoria Star Varner. Setup for the prints with plates, graphite and rope.

Victoria Star Varner. Crossed Paths series (arrangement #2).

The panel ends with three printmakers inside a lasso. By far worth skipping another CAA happy hour.

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Categories: Critical Discourse


2 Responses to “CAA Panel: Proof”

  1. The merit in Dove’s work is that she puts ‘her visual money where her philosophical mouth is….” in other words she literally aligns her process with her idea despite incrementally covering up (great)imagery. Dove’s idea drives the end product.

    By comparison, Star Varner may wish to consider the drawings as being more truthful/in line with her inquiry than the plates/print process. With her current thesis, there really isn’t a reason to make plates or prints (sorry print makers)…the graphite from the rope tells all and is quite beautiful…by the way what’s the ‘trick’ part of the roping – I have branded a lot of calves and spinning and throwing a rope isn’t rocket science…it seems tricky in the context of art and/or academia – most of whom probably don’t rope. However from the stand point of someone who does, whassup?????

  2. Amze says:

    While Mary Ann may have a point about Star’s work, I would endorse any world where more printmakers carry lassos.

    Jeremy’s model of intense labor to produce something so anonymous and mundane seems profoundly poetic.