Intersecting Methods 2016: First Two Prints

Today’s post marks the beginning of the unveiling of the Intersecting Methods 2016 portfolio prints. I am going to start off the program with two editions from very heavy hitters in the printmaking/art academia, Deborah Cornell and Melanie Yazzie. I have previously posted bios of them and their collaborators. Click here for Deborah’s and here for Melanie’s.

Deborah wrote this statement to explain her print.

“The Inescapability of Chance,” Inkjet Print, 18″x14″, 2016

Our project occupies an intersection of observed natural pattern, philosophy, and mathematics, the result of our common interest in digital process. 

This work grew from our conversations about specific and overarching patterns, the interventions of humans and technology, and whether chance patterns to which we are drawn are really the result of a hidden or implied inevitability or determinacy. This brought us to consider the question of a balance between chance and deterministic processes in the manifestation of incidental moments (sticks in the water, firefly patterns, overlapping fern edges).   

We sourced images of seemingly random “leavings” of sticks in shallow water in Maine, the detritus of wind and waves. Superimposed, these images created concentrations of form and the intervention of material with light, which were then expressed as densities of pixels within files. At the same time, we experimented with software programs that analyzed and highlighted the edges of the forms and the resulting contrast between light and shadow, creating various mathematically generated diagrams of the “random” results of natural forces.

Formerly, we had collaborated on virtual reality projects and interactive installations, where we discovered our shared interest in how the world works, and in the generation of form and image. 

Melanie wrote this about her print.

“What You’re Made Of,” Screenprint on Arnhem 1618 paper, 14″x18,” 2016

Liquid Crystals are matter in states that exhibit properties of both liquid and crystal-state matter simultaneously, such structures have been found throughout nature. Scientists have often researched the possible uses of LC’s for industrial applications like LCD televisions and Pico projectors, but we are also starting to see biophysical research into liquid crystals, as human DNA can form liquid crystal phases, leading to greater understanding of both the liquid crystal structures and of what makes us, us.

When observed at a molecular level under a polarized light you can start to see immaculate patterns and vibrant colors emerging where the structure crystallizes, as seen in the images on this print taken from actual magnification of the LC phases of human DNA.

Such biophysical research is leading to greater understanding of both soft materials technology and into the origin of human life and the unique structures which make us individuals and which at the same time link all humans to one another.

Dakota and I, began this print collaboration in the summer of 2015. I brought the image of my Certificate of Indian Blood to the work and wanted to put some focus on the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Law. This law makes it illegal for anyone to claim being Native American who is making or selling their art work in the USA without a way to prove their legal heritage with something like a Certificate of Indian Blood. The certificate of Indian Blood documents tribal members and each person has what my nation calls a census number. We always have to defend our sense of self to government agencies, museums or galleries that receive federal funding or they risk losing all their funding and can be taken to jail or court for breaking this law. It is pretty serious.

The law came into being to defend the arts and crafts of many of our communities from foreign and local people who are taking advantage of our community’s art practices and way of life. Many companies outside the USA, fashion designers and pop culture have used our images and symbols and have done so without any concern to the cultural rules they have broken. This law hoped to protect us from some of this. The use of our symbols, ideas and beliefs are often used in ways that are offensive and sad to witness.

My records show that I am 4/4, also known as a full-blooded Diné person. I know my history and I know I am of mixed heritage. This is something true of many people and the question of blood quantum is an issue that divides many communities. When we look at the science of genetics we see that we are all human. I am interested in these perspectives and stories from each of us. So this print touches on these issues and more.

Each of these prints are gorgeous and great works in their own right, but there are quite a few more to come. I look forward to sharing them over the next few weeks and at the SGC International conference in Portland, OR March 30th – April 2nd.

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