Glimpses of Diana Behl’s Work and SDSU Printmaking

Enter a pool of sugar water or a vacuous cave or climb through the sediment of a garden.  Examine the roots, the tubers and legumes.  Or slide along parallel lines, first gridded, then skewed, then lost.  Immerse, no saturate, no dip into and out of chromatic grays, then skim pebbles of pink, scatterings of hatches, swimming through piles of whiskers and fuzz, of threads and streamers.  Cower next to windswept highways and melting seasons, slick paths and thorny passages, tramping down forgotten grass.  Peek, react, shift, select, recombine, slide, repeat.

Diana Behl’s work presents fragments of quotidian references.  It’s clear she’s been baking, cutting, weeding, and sorting, but also beveling and scraping, tearing and printing.  The slices of color and clusters of prior marks speak to her practice and teaching as well as her daily environment.   Past students lassoing basketballs and a languishing baren-sized beetle, sits the SDSU Print Kitchen.  Upon entering one is immediately met by the bustle of adept students checking plates and burnishing mezzotints in the spacious former dining hall.  As one of three visiting artists creating collaborative work with South Dakota State University students for the Ritz Gallery Exhibit Improvisations, I was privy to the goings-on in the print studio.

The shop has a particular focus on relief and intaglio processes with a little letterpress on the side.  From hand-drawn signs detailing the guidelines of signing prints to abstract pinhole photos scattered about, it’s clear this is Diana’s tidy territory.  There’s a nicely salvaged proofing press for type projects and a new Takach etching press tucked away in its own room for advanced projects, additions that both energize and challenge the students.  At 8 a.m., the beginning of a week of work, her students jumped right in, printing linocuts, generating stacks of printed material, drawing with red cabbage dye and graphite powder/acrylic medium, trimming, editing, all for a collaborative printstallation.  Additional images of SDSU Printmaking and Diana Behl’s work can be found at www.sdsuprintmaking.tumblr.com and www.dianabehl.com respectively.

Pulling a print for the printstallation.

Hard-working SDSU student and wall o' prints

Work-in-progress: Andrew Kosten (left), Ms. Behl (right)

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Linocut proof by Zac Leitheiser

Items in Diana's flat file

More Behl prints

Detail of a Diana Behl cut-up

Another cut-up

Starting points...

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Categories: Artists, Printshop Tour, Studio Visit


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