Hidden Time: The League of Unapologetic Printmakers
These four images were created in my bedroom post quarantine. “Six Feet Apart”, is a small linocut print that responds to social distancing. Two hands face each other and out of each palm grows flowers that reach for each other horizontally.
The print “Signal”, focuses on a single figure, with eyes closed concentric beams surrounding him. It is a portrait of a friend who I have kept in contact with through the quarantine. I imagined what it might look like if instead of the technology we use to communicate, if his amplified intention was the signal sent into the world to make emotional connections.
Throughout the social distancing I have been acutely aware of our newly embedded fears of closeness with others. I became intrigued with ideas around meeting places, connection, and fragility. While finding myself stuck watching fail videos of skateboarding, cliff diving, and the like, I thought about the vulnerability of those bodies. The unknowns of losing connection while airborne and the eventuality of violently meeting the ground again.
I noticed the queasy feeling of wanting to know and wanting to look away from the falls had some similarity in my feelings of anxiety around listening to the news. In the two “Falling” blocks, I chose to leave the two figures in positive black space. I wanted to remove the meeting place, the indication that they would collide with something familiar again. Instead they are suspended in an unknown, neither good or bad
The first series of prints included in this presentation are entitled Aura I-III. These portraits began as film photo negatives, that were then developed and scanned. From the digital images I used the hand fed method on canvas to create 3 tapestries, to which I added gold leaf hand detailing.
As an African American woman, oftentimes when I see representations of my race and gender in the media, I feel as if our global narrative as a people is completely out of our hands. This piece was an exploration of agency. It is not necessarily intended to be political in any other way than create a positive representation for black women. It does not attempt to encompass all narratives, nor does it attempt to create an image that should set a beauty standard. It is mostly an aesthetic project.
The historical context using a film camera inspired this stylized shoot in which I was allowed to explore my own cultural and stylistic gaze. However, with the politicized association of the black body, I’m aware that intentionally or not, this piece is charged in many ways. Although the final piece on display is not a part of this series, the reference image comes from the same shoot, so it has a similar purpose.
The piece Reflection is a CMYK silk screen print that utilizes Cyan and Magenta ink. This image as well as the others exist to create and normalize positive representations of and for black women, by a black woman. This above all, whether it be through content or action, is my goal as an artist.
The model featured in this piece is Isha Senghore. And I am Synovia Knox.
In screen printing, I am very interested in using ephemera in my work. For as long as I can remember I have been saving old photos, magazines, ribbons, fabric, etc. and have found that printmaking is a great way for me to immortalize my vintage treasures. The imagery in Chickens was found in a “Yearbook of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture” from 1901, and valentines day cards from the 1940s and 50s.
Someone collected these items for decades, so I feel obligated to care for them in the same way. Through my work, I believe I am doing my part in honoring these items I find precious, when others may see them as unnecessary clutter.
The Best Thing follows this same vein of thinking, as it is meant to celebrate the craftsmanship and care people have put into cross-stitches and embroidery that often ends up at thrift stores.
My artwork explores altered states of mind through absurdity and humor. My cartoony illustration style, unnatural subject matter, and bright color palettes aim to depict the feelings and visuals of being under the influence of psychedelic substances, such as marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms. Psychedelic substances allow for users to discover new perspectives, perceptions, and realities. My work seeks to construct these new, unworldly spaces on a two-dimensional plane.
Although marijuana has been legalized in many states across America and its cultural view has been shifting, many people are still against the usage of cannabis. Growing up in Wisconsin, a state where weed remains medically and recreationally illegal, I’ve seen the negative stigma of being a “pot head” or “stoner.” My artwork attempts to shift the negative perceptions of cannabis by mocking the current stigma that exists through humor and exaggeration.
My drawing style and subject matter is greatly influenced by cartoons and animation. I’m intrigued by the absurd way that cartoon characters are able to do things viewed as impossible to humans, without causing any type of serious damage to themselves or others. My work incorporates anthropomorphic animals within illogical situations to convey altered perceptions and realities.
The four pieces displayed here are all quite different conceptually but they all came from quick sketches I have done over the course of the quarantine. My work is all developed from my journals, old diaries, and sketchbooks so that it has as much of me in it as possible. Since I began making art, my main goal has been to translate my lived experiences, thoughts, and, emotions into something tangible that I can use to relate to other people.
The collages are made out of a handful of sketches pulled from my sketchbook. Glare is attempting to mimic the terrifying ordeal of being seen and perceived in public.
Overworked is a painting that describes the feeling I have had lately of being overworked, overwhelmed, and over tired. Although the concept is a bit different.
Due to the prolonged time stuck inside, I made I Got the Jitters to describe the urge to dance and be silly with other people. Making work directly from my personal life and personal struggles has helped me understand myself better inside and out. Taking events from my past and present for art helps me process the things I have been through in a way that I couldn’t do without creating.
Chain Smoker is similar in that it is meant to depict a certain feeling. The mouth is filled with joints (or cigarettes, depending on what you see) yet still twisted into a crazy smile which shows a person in a manic, compulsive state.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio to an Indian mother and a Vietnamese father, but grew up all around the Midwest.
I am currently a BFA student for printmaking and photography at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.
My subject matter is stories and visibility. Through my work I seek to provide insight into the experiences of myself and other Asian Americans and people of mixed race. I often explore this through our relationships with time, technology, and the body.
I am particularly interested in how these themes can bring visibility and awareness to current Asian American issues and connect people across the community.
To me this makes photography a wonderful medium because it can capture time through the use of technology, allowing us to see bodies as they are in our present moment.
My work in woodcut relief printmaking is inspired by my own experiences and nature, and reflections on self-image. The images are 5” x 7” prints in black Speedball ink on printmaking and watercolor paper and are meant to feel intimate and accessible.
The ideas around my imagery come from impressing my own experience onto the world around me to create a blend of the real and the contrived. They embody the nostalgic and familiar, easily recalled and recognized, but imagined in a new way.
It’s important to me to make art that people can relate to or see themselves in because at the end of the day, art is for everyone. Consumption of imagery, ideas, and creativity shouldn’t be limited to those with means or education, because the reality of the human experience isn’t limited to that.
In my pieces I wanted to reflect on the feelings I got when walking down the same street every day and noticing something new, or how I feel when my anxiety is taking over. These experiences, while personal, are also shared among those who view my work, and that connection is what I strive for.