REVIEW: “THEORIES OF THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS - A PRINTMAKING EXHIBITION”

by Teresa Zbiciak

Through March 18, you can check out new work from two local printmakers, Scott Travis and Evan Chamberlin. In most prints,the plate is largely forgotten. This is in spite of the inherent beauty that many artists find in the worked copper. The prints currently hanging up at the Division Ave Arts Cooperative [DAAC] subtly allude to the trace of process,being as conceptually important for both artists as the final work, though in different ways and in different contexts.

Scott Travis regards the plate as a sculptural object,and evokes a physicality in the print through an embossing. The emboss allows light to create a compositional boundary between figures in the image,while creating a push and pull between the window effect of the two dimensional with the objecthood of the print itself. There is no frame to give it added preciousness or distinction from its viewers, just a sheet of plexi to help it survive potential moshing or milling about at the DAAC.

The imagery is a combination of human, animal,and plant forms,all drawn from memory, rather than from any references. It is a means of drawing from the inherent perception and memory of these things.The result is somewhat surreal, without the Freudian hang-ups, and reminiscent of the completely immersed illustrations of the 1970’s, without the halucinatory hang-ups. The work itself is meditative for the artist, evidenced by meticulous line work and hatched texture in his dreamy depictions. His major influences are the writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, with their heavy emphasis on collective unconsciousness and myths that cross time and cultural boundaries. These ideas have Scott seeking out archetypes and ubiquitous human experiences through his work.

In Evan Chamberlin’s prints, a solitary figure on a ground plane stand to the
fore of a square of mottled and suggestive ink. There is a dichotomy of an immediate and silly iconography, gleaned from Google image searches for self-improvement, with the more indelible square indicative of the printmaker’s process. Evan appreciates the history of a marked up plate, and even uses the “wrong”side of the copper. (Copper comes with a protective piece of plastic on one side that allows for an unblemished surface for the potential artwork.) The soft metal takes on serendipitous etching marks from traveling, in process, between home and studio space. Therein the mottled ink is imbued with markings of a passage of time, upon a shared map with the artist. When he is working with the material and the process,he can stop worrying whether he should be more manly and strong,or more sensitive like a little girl, or more free spirited like a bird. His work is largely about the material and the mixing of the ink – he feels that there is something more truthful in this studio practice than the silly little characters representing the sorts of things that he feels other people expect of him.

Theories of the Collective Unconscious: A Printmaking Exhibitions, is on view at the DAAC until March 18th. Gallery hours are:

Tuesday's 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Friday's 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Posted on March 4, 2007 7:28 PM

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