Liz Zanis

Sculptural Printmaking

Sculptural printmaking is a theme contemporary artist’s address as they examine the boundaries between printmaking and other mediums such as sculpture, installation and painting. Manipulating the flat sheet provides the artist with a new dimension on which to express multiple ideas in one creative object. The choice of paper as a medium is significant and should not be discarded. Our daily engagement with paper through newspapers, books and documents translates differently when experiencing ‘fine art’. There is a tactile knowledge that comes from years of use and a close understanding of the material that these artists consider. This group of work addresses the overarching themes of landscape, identity and memory found within the greater context of contemporary art.

Golnar Adili incorporates text and sculptural elements into her table top piece Untitled. The flat everyday object is transformed by a handwritten letter that is folded ‘accordion style.’ The text falls upon the ridges, emphasizing the formal and lyrical beauty of the Farsi letters that it is written in. Using enlarged screenprints of hand written correspondence between her parents who were separated during the Iranian Cultural Revolution (1980-1987), the object is both tactility and visual enticing. It is not until closer inspection that you realize the social, emotional and historical implication of these documents. The letters are then pasted onto pale pink folded paper, calling attention a gendered color choice, as well as the intimacy of this personal connection between husband and wife. The table top piece feels organic and alive. The energy within the folds translate to the viewer who desires to touch it, move it, and unfold it in order to reveal the interior spaces.

Liz Zanis’ miniaturized works are extremely compelling due to the subject she recreates but also the nature of the size, mandating that the viewer come closer to examine. ‘say it with flowers; may 8, 2010’ resembles the paper covering of a bouquet of flowers, but 1/100th the scale. This piece utilizes our familiarity of everyday objects, but then transforms them through the print technique of screenprinting. These empty bouquets emphasize the preciousness of the object while evoking the response and implications associated with giving and receiving flowers. Clustered together in a group, one is drawn to pick them up, examine more closely, and upon doing this we read the ironic and witty statements included such as “mean baby’s breath.” Clustered together, in a way that the actual object could never be, this group creates its own minute environment of discarded wrapping.

The creation of an environment through sculpture is another theme that ties closely to the interest in landscape. Erin Diebboll’s etching Saranac river depicts a fragmented map of the river as it carves its way along the center of the sheet, meandering through time and the landscape. The restricted color palette and undulating line calls attention to the specific area that it records, but also the void of sheet surrounding the object. By isolating this one specific location and geological element, Diebboll beautifully allows the viewer to mediate on the physical location as well as the distinction between artificiality and actuality. Field & forest emphasizes the three dimensional where Diebboll creates wall pieces that complement her interest in space and the landscape. Measuring 4 x 5 inches and is ¼ wide, this piece is split into two main portions. The bottom half, colored green, extends ¼ inch from the backing with cross-hatching running along the top ridge. The brown top segment of the work is separated from the bottom by the cross-hatching pattern as well as it being flat against the backing. The delineation of foreground, middle ground and background reflects the way a topographic map explains differing elevations. By physically extending off the flat surface it draws the viewer close, and demands examination from multiple perspectives.

These three artists are currently working at the Lower East Side Printshop and their work will be on view for the Summer Exhibition, opening July 14th, 2010.

Contributing Author: Hadley Planting

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