Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jack Damer's Visit

Jack Damer teaches at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is an expert lithographer and came down to B-town last week to teach us some stone-cold awesome litho tricks. The first day we discussed the history of lithography and viewed some of the hundreds of prints that Jack brought. Then we all bundled into the car and carpooled to Thai buffet for lunch.

At lunch we talked about movies, the proliferation of visual culture and the self consciousness of making art for artists. There is a general sense that some art is so coded and steeped in references that only other artists will understand the full impact of the work. Some people worry that this devalues the experience of art; if viewers can't understand the full meaning of the work then why make such complex, nuanced work? I see it another way - If I value the creation of my art and the complex thoughts that inspire it then it can never be undervalued. Even if I were to make simple explicit, didactic art I still can't be guaranteed that viewer will read my every intended meaning. But if one person takes something away from the experience of seeing my art then I've accomplished my goal. WE PROVOKE, we converse, we send forth our ideas and someone will listen. We just have to believe in the power of our voice.

After lunch we went back to the studio and processed a stone and I got a talking-to about my sponging technique. Jack is a very solid, knowledgeable teacher. He has the relaxed demeanor that comes with confidence. I took many, many notes and am excited to get to work using them!

Here are a few of the prints that Jack brought, all lithographs.

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