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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Lithographs of past, present shine”

    Lithographs are nightmarishly difficult to make. You come away from the UA Museum of Art’s double lithograph exhibit marveling at the level of patience it must take to make a bad one, let alone a great one.

    “”The Stone Palette”” is a display of nineteenth-century prints, officially ranging from the years 1810 through 1899 (though at least one of the works, William Delamotte’s “”Resting Men and Dogs Under a Big Tree,”” is from 1802). Seeing artists better known for their sparkling Impressionist canvases, like Eduard Manet, try their hand at printmaking is a revelatory experience.

    The level of detail in some of these works is remarkable. Rodolphe Bresdin’s “”Le Bon Samaritain,”” a lavish 1861 print, features monkeys, lizards and staggeringly well-rendered branches and leaves. At the other end of the stylistic spectrum, Alphonse Mucha’s 1897 “”Bieres De La Meuse”” is an enormous, garishly colorful poster you can easily imagine brightening up a dorm room.

    After spending a while in this room, it’s mildly startling to walk into the next room and see its sister exhibit, the oddly titled “”The Machine Stops (Inkjet My Foot).””

    Made up of much more recent prints, this collection of various artists’ take on the subject of “”the machine”” and its role in our society makes for a devilishly entertaining gaze. Some of these prints are so bright, colorful and appealing that you want to reach out and grab them. (You can’t, of course. It is a museum, after all.)

    John Driesbach’s “”Overall She Floats”” features a face — drowning or sleeping, you can’t quite tell which — floating in a candy-colored background of scribbles, as evocative of the bloodstream as it is of the bored doodles you might sketch during a meeting. Tom Christison’s “”Previously Frozen,”” featuring popsicle-colored doll babies’ heads suspended in air, is like a twisted take on an old ’50s advertisement.

    Some of the prints are rather funny, like Melanie Yazzie’s cartoonish “”Machine Dog.”” Others, like Andrew Polk’s “” … the world, as they knew it, ended”” and Wayne Kimball’s “”A Second-Hand Idea … Far Removed from that Disturbing Element — Direct Observation”” are as somber as their titles. Cerese Vaden’s “”Sentinel’s Passage,”” with its silhouetted birds and math equations, is curious and clever.

    Jude Macklin’s “”Luddite’s Flight”” is an elaborate and haunting work, combining poetry, still shots and delicate ink drawings. Emily Arthur Douglass’s “”Blood Moth and Vine”” is exactly what it sounds like — it’s so evocative of an older America of junkyards and front porches that you can smell the rust.

    Kevin Hass’s “”The Machines Stop”” is a large canvas — though one that seems larger than it actually is, through clever use of white space — that shows a handful of black-and-white pictures of old machines. They look as old and faded as if they had been cut out of an old encyclopedia. Hass’s print, with its elegiac and strangely final feel, is a logical ending point for the exhibit: As you watch, you can almost feel the machines stop.

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