Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I'll have some highlight images to post after reviewing the final portfolios of prints, but I wanted to jump in with thoughts and impressions before they faded into the fog of grading.

Our meeting time is from 1:15 - 4:15, but in spite of having an extra week after the last class meeting, there was still a flurry of printing activity in the shop, and yet our discussion faded around 3:00. It would have been great if that flurry had been a constant throughout the semester, but as one student said, "I work better under pressure," so most of the work was done within the past few days.

The discussion started with a recap of printmaking impressions, the "love/hate" relationship was touched on, but that discussion pretty much existed between me and Allison, and we returned to that topic a number of times to open up other possibilities, other perspectives, other takes on love/hate.  Few were offered. We passed around intaglio prints, exchange portfolio prints, relief prints, but there was very little discussion in the course of those sharing moments. I used to kick myself in the butt for not offering my thoughts and impressions when I was a student.  Now I can yak it up, but only for so long as I keep digging for interaction, eventually someone else needs to make an offering.  Once we got to the advanced folks the discussion became a little more interactive.  Rob discussed his approach to creating imagery, particularly through the print processes.  He really has the mindset of a printmaker, engaged with the variety of approaches to creating imagery and following with detailed explanations of how he created those images, and he clearly recognizes the perk of "multiples": process over image.  Brent has a very different approach.  He has a "reductive" mindset, or at least for this semester, and had a number of woodcuts, wood-engravings, and a silkscreen/relief combination. His approach is very much from an illustrative perspective: image over process. Julie has been working on a 'quilt' of small relief prints, mostly wood cuts, that she's sewn together by hand. It's an engaging piece, but would be much more so with a companion piece, which she may may be able to accomplish by the time her senior exhibition opens in February.

There was discussion about the trials and tribulations of creating prints, the unpredictability of acid's reaction to metal, such as demonstrated in Krystal's intaglio.  There were also other interesting resolutions in the mix.  Alex did some unique explorations with his intaglio plate; Allison did equally engaging work with her solar plates; Kristie created an image for the "tension" portfolio that she's now hand coloring for the final edition which heightens the tension of the image; Anthony's relief is not only tense in concept, but in execution with all of those tiny diagonal lines defining the image; Jay's "Bloons" was an interesting take on Tension and that's one that I have to think through a little more....a clown hanging from floating balloons...hmmmm; Michelle's was also interesting in concept with a view of an 8-ball - - perhaps calling that last pocket, that always makes me a little tense.

Check back in a few days for final images of the semester.


alison said...

I have looked for my color monotype (goldfish) at home, but could not find it. The last time I remember seeing it was before you photographed it for this blog. Is there any chance you have it?

As for the critique, I wish that we could have heard each person's explanation of their tension image (i.e., the story behind the image). We only heard a few.

About deadlines: As an alternative to having actual "finish this edition by this date" formal deadlines, perhaps a few scheduled "working critiques" (like what we did at mid term) throughout the semester, where we can touch base on our progress, discuss challenges, get feedback from each other, propose solutions, etc.

Have a nice break/happy holidays, everyone!

brian h. jones said...

I will check my office tomorrow, if you can't find it there is a good chance it could be in my office. It's pretty disorganized in there right now.

I would like to have heard more about the tension prints as well, but sometimes in the course of trying to direct discussion and solicit comments, you find a brick wall instead of dialogue. In very recent years, discussion has become a rare thing in critiques. That is one of the things that prompted my mention of the manner in which students learn today compared to the way they "used to learn." Jay said he wouldn't know because he didn't know what that way was, he only knew how he learned now. A good point. There used to be a process in critiques that were kind of universal when students were asked directly what they thought or how they felt about the work that was being discussed. The responses were generally the same: I like it, that was about it. Then there was a move to have students write about their responses, but they also eventually became: I like it.

I don't know the magic that it takes to get a good and critical discussion about creative work. I've been finding more and more that such discussions happen one-on-one more so than in groups. When there are groups there is too much reticence about being critical, everyone wants to be everyone else's friend without understanding that the best way to be a friend is to be honest with each other in order to help each other grow.

Maybe there'll be some offers here about what folks were thinking when they conceived their Tension Prints. I can post images of them and see where it goes. Even if it's after the fact, maybe there'll be some honesty and some sharing about our ideas how we get them to develop. I'll shoot tomorrow and try to get them posted later in the day and we'll se how it grows.

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