Intersecting Methods Panel Participants

R&D editions received 12 applications for the Intersecting Methods panel for the 2017 SGCI conference, Terminus, in Atlanta, GA. Each application was exceptional, but I can only choose three for the panel.

I have selected the applications of Erik Waterkotte, Patricia Olynyk, and Rob Swainston with Alison Dell.

Erik’s focus will explore re-structuring printmaking’s dissemination of research and work created in the studio to have a more direct relationship with the Industry and scientific research. While, Patricia will present and investigate a selection of contemporary artists, focused in printmaking, who create work based on scientific concepts and expand the definition of printmaking in the processes. Lastly, Rob Swainston with Alison Dell, will present their use of the scientific method to experiment and expand on printmaking techniques.

Along with their presentations, I will present some of the unique collaborations that have come from the 2014 and 2016 Intersecting Methods portfolio exchanges and how this project has expanded the dialogue between science and printmaking.

I will post more about this panel at different points between now and next March. But for now, feel free to read the abstracts from the three accepted panel applications below.

Erik Waterkotte’s Abstract:

For my contribution to the Intersecting Methods panel I propose that the intersections of science and printmaking are already present within the methodology and pedagogy of Printmaking but we need to reposition how we produce and disseminate the research and work we create within the Studio Arts. By examining the application and purpose of new technologies (both lo-tech and hi-tech, from GIF animations to 3-D Printing) we can easily identify important connections to the technology and skill-set of Printmaking. And, by expanding the application of Printmaking’s skill-set we can connect the Fine Art, Printmaking studio to industry and the production needs of today and beyond.

I will examine the apprehensions in re-connecting Printmaking with Industry and show that the goals and production of the last half-century of Contemporary Art are evidence that Fine Art can and should utilize industrial methods. Using examples from my own teaching and research (including recent collaborative, class projects, co-taught courses, and research into commercial printmaking and fabrication) I will detail how reconnecting Printmaking to Industry is extremely timely and germane. The artistic pedagogy of Printmaking is incredible and, if explored and expanded upon, can offer new paradigms and solutions in Science and Industry.

Patricia Olynyk’s Abstract:

Science inspires and informs the arts, and the arts also inspire and inform science. A recent joint meeting of the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts engaged influential thinkers who explored various types of inquiry that concerns the territories of both art and science.

Like scientific research, printmaking fully engages evolving technologies and frequently involves asking questions for which we do not have an answer. It shares overlapping concerns with the life sciences, biotechnology and nanotechnology, which in turn generates new collaborations between printmakers and members of the scientific community. Such partnerships can incite reasoned debate on controversial issues related to new advances in science and medicine and also expand the possibilities for understanding the impact of science and technology on the human condition and all living systems.

Printmaking, like scientific inquiry, is iterative, process based, and largely image oriented. Printmakers sometimes engage in the visualization of biomedical and scientific phenomena, employing imagery or constructing work derived from—or dialectically related to—such research tools or processes that engage electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, digital tomosynthesis, and/or biomechatronics.

This presentation will include print media works by Hung Lu, Suzanne Anker, Brad Smith, Ellen K. Levy, and Patricia Olynyk (to name a few). I will discuss work inspired by notions of “reproduction,” “variation” and “complexity” (Trillium Press), work which mines medical archives to question scientific taxonomies (the Mütter Museum), and work that focuses on Gaston Bachelard’s assertion that: “bad science can produce good art.”

Rob Swainston’s Abstract:

The printed image is deeply rooted in technology and innovation – a historically negotiated assemblage between hand, device, and image. As such printmaking is ripe for connecting art and science – and particularly to apply the scientific method to systematically investigate new ways to intervene with traditional printmaking methods.

Alison Dell, Ph.D. (research scientist, professor, and second generation printmaker) and Rob Swainston (artist, professor, and master printer) – have used the scientific method to generate a series of printmaking “hacks” in which digital technologies and less-toxic processes synergize with the tools and equipment already available in most printshops.

One such project is affectionately termed “fake etching,” or “fetching.” The goal of this project was to investigate how print processes can be more compatible with digital platforms yet maintain the rich tonal range achievable through intaglio techniques. Carrying out numerous experiments over the course of two research residencies at the Frans Masereel Centrum, Alison and Rob developed new photo-collagraph processes using cues from lithography, silkscreen, and Photoshop. In keeping with the information sharing mandated by the scientific community – Dell and Swainston published two “how-to” videos detailing their methods and results. These are freely available online.

The fetching project is just one example of Alison and Rob employing scientific method in developing new print processes. During the panel the team will present the findings of both this and other science-driven print investigations developed in Rob’s NYC Printshop, Prints of Darkness.


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