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Barbara Blondeau

Barbara Blondeau, ca. 1970
Self portrait
Visual Studies Workshop Collection

Barbara Blondeau
[Female dancer with circle lights], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 5.75 x 78.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0016

Blondeau is best known for creating “strip prints” through a technique she stumbled upon while shooting with a malfunctioning camera. The result excited her and she began to purposely shoot and wind her film past an open shutter. Blondeau broke from the accepted norm and challenged the limitations of the frame. Her images spanned the entire roll, extending time and movement through many frames. She experimented with both white and black backgrounds; black was more successful and was used most often. Blondeau often worked with members of a dance company as her subjects for this series. Their graceful movements left ghostly traces that Blondeau found desirable. She also experimented with different lighting to accompany each model. In this print a strobe flashes a rhythmic circle throughout the long frame. In this strip print it appears as though the film was sent through the camera once, then flipped and sent through again. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[Female dancer with circle lights], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 5.75 x 78.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0016

Barbara Blondeau
Untitled, 1967

Chromogenic color print, polarized
16 x 24.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0004:0014

In this example of Blondeau’s color work, any reference to the original subject has been lost. The incorrect color balance and solarization has abstracted it beyond recognition. The new world created by this technique is alien and post apocalyptic. LM

Barbara Blondeau
Untitled, 1967

Chromogenic color print, 22 x 19 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0004:0028

In this color printing experiment Blondeau has used natural plant material as her subject, but her colors are anything but natural. The brilliant oranges, yellows and magentas that make up this print are not an inverse of the normal coloring. It is unclear if she used filters or purposely used incorrect color balance when making these prints. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[Moving Nude No. 2], ca. 1968

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 78.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0001

In her strip prints Blondeau used two dancers, Karen and Warren, over and over. This nude is from the Karen series. This print, from 1968, was made at the beginning of her exploration of the strip print and its many possibilities. The actions the dancers performed were simple, but they left delicate traces on the image. The figure is given the freedom to move throughout the image and is not confined to a single frame. This independence removes much of the vulnerability felt in many of her other prints. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[Moving Nude No. 2], ca. 1968

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 78.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0001

Barbara Blondeau
[Moving Nude No. 2], ca. 1968

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 78.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0001

Barbara Blondeau
[Female figure photogram], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 40.5 x 50.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0008:0025

Blondeau’s work explores the female figure in many ways. This photogram connects the body directly to the photographic process. By placing the body against the paper, Blondeau has eliminated the need for any other tools to record this figure. Although the figure is life sized, the paper is not a very large piece. The body folds and bends to fit within the frame, but must ultimately break free of the confines of the page. The curling inward of the body implies a fetal position, and although there are few details, the viewer may feel the vulnerability of the subject. There is also a sense of entrapment of the figure by the way Blondeau has squeezed her into the frame. We are confronted by the plea to break free as the figure’s hand presses against the picture plane. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[Abstract female body], 1967

Gelatin silver print, 35 x 27 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0004:0093

This fragmented female figure references Blondeau’s strip prints in the way the figure is mirrored and segmented. The way the figure has been sliced apart has violent connotations. Although the figure is pieced together, the segments do not seamlessly met. Black bars prevent the body from becoming whole. Blondeau further complicates this disjointed figure by mirroring it. The ultimate character that emerges is insect like, crouched in a defensive stance. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[City lights], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 79 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0029

In this rare example Blondeau has taken her method of making strip prints out of the studio and to the sidewalk. The darkness of night created a similar situation for shooting as she had in the studio. Replacing the models she typically used, city lights dance across the print. The strip print is not as seamless as some of her studio nudes, as there are interruptions of solid black bars in this print. This experiment does not appear to have been repeated. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[City lights], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 79 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0029

Barbara Blondeau
[City lights], ca. 1970

Gelatin silver print, 5.5 x 79 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1977:0012:0029

Barbara Blondeau
[Car at curb], ca. 1970

Orthochromatic film with gold and black spray paint, 49 x 63.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1982:0000:0181

In this orthochromatic print Blondeau has taken a simple mundane street scene and has heighted its place by the treatment of the background. The high contrast large sheet of film, in which white areas appear transparent, contains little detail. In this example Blondeau has chosen to paint on the backside of this film. She used gold spray paint for most of the white areas, the only exception being the passenger’s face and hands, which are painted white. The darker areas have been treated with black enamel, deepening the shadows and obscuring details, and leaving the print with silhouettes of gold. LM

Barbara Blondeau
[Suburban], ca. 1970

Orthochromatic film, 36 x 52.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Barbara Blondeau
1982:0000:0176

In her street photography Blondeau often used orthochromatic film to make prints. This film is transparent and yields a high contrast. Subtle gray tones and details are lost. This effect provides the viewer with a stark, concentrated reality. Any information gained from the image must be read solely from the highlights and shadows. This example of orthochromatic film is not painted on the back like many in this series. The print may have been abandoned and unfinished.

Robert Fichter

Robert Fichter, 1983
Photo by Kelley Kirkpatrick

Robert Fichter
Dylan, 1968

Gelatin silver print, stereo format
8.8 x 15.3 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
2000:0061:0015

Dylan is a stereo photo that was made in 1968. What makes this image unusual is that it depicts an action; most stereo images are static views of the subject and here we have the subject lunging through the scene. The stereo photo allows the viewer to see an almost three-dimensional image by shifting the perspectives along the same horizontal plane and the larger the distance between the images, the greater the three-dimensional effect when the image is seen through a stereo viewer. BM

Robert Fichter
Dear Alice, 1970

Silver chlorobromide print, 8.8 x 24 cm
Visual Studies Work Shop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:0450

Dear Alice is an image that visits the multiple frame print that Fichter frequently employs. Here he places an image of a surprised Alfred Hitchcock between two images of a beauty pageant queen. Fichter has also written a letter to Alice on the back of the print, thanking her for a gift. BM

Robert Fichter
Alice in Dayglo Glasses, ca. 1967

Gelatin silver print with applied spray paint, crayon, sticker, 16.7 x 25 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1979:0047

This image of Alice Wells demonstrates to the viewer several of the things that Robert Fichter was interested in at the time he made it. Fichter looks at photography as just another way of making prints; he looks to materials to make marks. Here he has applied color to Wells’s shirt with crayon, and changed the style of her glasses with spray paint. He has also added drama to the image with the addition of a sticker of an airplane swooping into the frame. BM

Robert Fichter
[Portrait of Alice Wells], 1967

Silver chlorobromide print, Plexiglas overlay with applied color, 35.5 x 45.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:0434

In this untitled portrait of Alice Wells, Fichter visits many techniques that are found throughout his work to create the final product. Here in this image we first notice the obvious application of color. A 35.5 x 45.5 cm piece of Plexiglas has been painted black on the back to frame a smaller photograph of 15 x 32 cm. Inside this smaller area he has applied yellow paint everywhere and green paint over the image of Alice in the foreground. In the print he visits the practice of using multiple exposures to create an in-camera collage of both Alice in the foreground and to the left in the background. BM

Robert Fichter
Untitled [Moving figure], 1967

Silver chlorobromide print, 19.6 x 19.4 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:0446

In this untitled self-portrait, Fichter seems to be telling the viewer how he feels about photography and what has come before. This is a well-printed image by traditional standards, but the blur of the movement in the figure is what I find most interesting. While the print demonstrates Fichter’s technical skills to produce a very fine print, the figure is not static and dead, but alive and active, which at the time and possibly even now is contrary to popular expectations of photography. BM

Robert Fichter
[Two sunbathers], 1967

Silver chlorobromide print, 21.9 x 32.3 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:4746

This image and the following three are from a series that explores the tools and techniques of photography in the sixties. At a time when a large portion of the photographic community was looking for the best cameras and sharpest lenses to get the crispest and clearest pictures, Robert Fichter started using a “Diana” camera. The Diana was inexpensive and sometimes given away in promotions and carnivals, and because of this it was considered a toy. BM

The Diana was mass-produced in China and cheaply made, with a plastic lens of dubious quality, light leaks, and a viewfinder of questionable precision. It was these imprecise qualities, both in its construction and in the way in which it exposed negatives, that made this camera the perfect tool to create these images. BM

Robert Fichter
[Shoes and legs], ca 1967

Silver chlorobromide print, 22 x 32 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:4744

In this case Fichter has rewound the film and reloaded it into the camera, proceeding to shoot over the previously exposed images and creating these in-camera collages. This idea of multiple exposures sounds uncontrollable and serendipitous; in practice the images show a control and purposefulness. While not being 100% in control of the outcome, Fichter had the understanding of how to use this technique and manipulated the camera’s movement or perspective to compose compelling images. BM

Robert Fichter
[Alice in hat], ca 1967

Silver chlorobromide print, 22 x 31.9 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1971:4741

Robert Fichter
Alice + Dog, 1967

Gelatin silver print, 15.2 x 33.8 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Estate of Alice Wells
1988:0012

These images deal with the idea of the fragment—the fragment of the subject standing in for the whole, as is illustrated in the image with the woman in the hat, and the image of the two pairs of legs. Here parts of the images are deleted by parts of the exposed image or cut off completely by the frame line. Fichter has given us enough information to infer a subject but has withheld most of the information, which keeps us wondering about the image. The image of the two sunbathers stands out; it is subtler than the others. At first glance it appears to be two sunbathers, but upon closer examination the image on the left has a more tenuous grasp at existence, a struggle with being there and not there, while the three pairs of shoes make us question the image more than if there were two pairs of shoes. Alice + Dog uses the same techniques but achieves a different result. It shows us whole people and animals, but it places them in a surrealistic landscape that starts and stops abruptly, overlays other parts of the landscape, and becomes transparent in places. In this image Fichter gives us a solid subject while placing them in a not-so-solid landscape. BM

Hollis Frampton

Hollis Frampton, 1975
Portrait by Marion Faller

Hollis Frampton’s practice of blurring the lines between media and ideas is evident in the artist’s book, “Poetic Justice:” A Film By Hollis Frampton. The book explores a narrative structure using the pages of a manuscript that detail the scenes from a film. It appears at first glance to be a flipbook due to the visual nature of the pages, and yet each page must be read individually. The line is blurred between media because the images of the scenes are represented by words. This forces the viewer to create images in their mind while also playing the voyeur. The elements of the book are reminiscent of Structuralist filmmaking, which Frampton is known for having helped define as a genre. The book, like these types of films, contains photos that are all taken from the same viewpoint, and the double visual and conceptual layers of the book are reminiscent of the way that Structuralist films sometimes utilized the practice of rephotographing off of the screen. SW

Hollis Frampton
“Poetic Justice” A Film by Hollis Frampton [Cover], 1973

1 in an edition of 150
Rochester: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1973
Perfect bound book, black and white, 245 pages, 13.3 x 21.3 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Gift of the artist
Z232.5 VB34 FR-Po

As stated in the book’s envoi: "This book swims upstream, to the place where it was spawned. Twenty years ago, when I disbelieved that it would ever be given me to make films, and when I was a lowercase surrealist, and when I disbelieved that film-making started, like making love by telephone, with a script...I wrote film scripts. Later, it came time to make a work in seven parts, of which 'Poetic Justice' is the uncomfortable (it doesn't move) second, and to recapitulate some of the history of film art as though it were my like to recollect..." SW

Hollis Frampton
“Poetic Justice” A Film by Hollis Frampton [Page 8]

1 in an edition of 150
Rochester: Visual Studies Workshop Press,1973
Perfect bound book, black and white, 245 pages,13.3 x 21.3 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 VB34 FR-Po

In the portfolio of chromogenic color prints titled ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, Hollis Frampton explores the relationship between the nature of photography and the subject being photographed. His premise, outlined in the grant proposal for the project, is that the photograph bears only a “muted resemblance to its subject” while also existing as a unique object. He likens this to the mummification process and explains that while the dried and preserved objects photographed imply an inherent consciousness of their own, they also imply the photographic process as well as the viewer’s own presence. This circular metaphoric exploration is reminiscent of the symbolic world that we live in. The photographs are very stark and are almost like scans in their flat lighting, shot on black backgrounds. The specimens are pinned to the surface and some are shriveled and grotesque. Others still resemble what they once were and are quite beautiful.

Hollis Frampton
Oyster Shell (Pleurotis Ostreatus)

7 in portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS 2 in an edition of 14, 1982
Chromogenic color print,49.85 x 39.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1986:0018:0009

From the portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, text by Frampton: “OYSTER SHELL (Pleurotus ostreatus): These specimens were gathered, among a vast recurrent troop, by the author, in the company of Gerald Church, Postmaster in the village of Eaton, NY, on a raw morning at the beginning of November, 1981. Fresh, or dried and reconstituted, the abundant meat of this fungus is of unusual tensility. “At least three races may be distinguished by the tone of the slightly viscid cap, which may vary from opalescent white through pale gray to a strong, yellowish beige. Invariably, the gills of mature bodies are foraged by a small beetle whose presence is positively diagnostic of a choice species well distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone. It is one of two fully domesticated edible fungi, the other being a strain of Agaricus campestris propagated on beds of clay and composted horse dung in the abandoned anthracite mines of Pennsylvania. “In Japan, this Pleurotus is domesticated on rotting elm logs. The author has obtained it wild, as well, from senescent maples, and from standing beech (Fagus americanus) in seeming health; but the establishment of its mycelium is always a sign of pathology in the host.” SW

Hollis Frampton
Chimaera (Challorhynchus Capensis)

4 in portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS 2 in an edition of 14,1982
Chromogenic color print, 49.9 x 39.45 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1986:0018:0006

From the portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, text by Frampton: “CHIMERA (Challorhynchus capensis): This specimen was purchased by the author at a marine curio shop on Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, in April, 1980, for five dollars. Its stated provenance was Hong Kong, and we may conjecture that the genus appears as an adulterant among edible catches dragnetted in easterly effluents from the Indian Ocean. The present apparition is an artificial fetish, made by incising the fish along its dorsal edge. It is then opened like a pamphlet, drawn, dried, varnished, and the result prepared for hanging as a wall decoration by twisting a noose of thin copper wire about what passes for a neck. That wire has been removed; its presence implied a false narrative, since fish are never garroted or executed by hanging.”

Hollis Frampton
Rose (Rosa Damascena)

14 in portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, 2 in an edition of 14, 1982
Chromogenic color print, 50 x 39.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1986:0018:0016

From the portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, text by Frampton: “ROSE (Rosa damascene): This specimen was taken by the author as a keepsake from a funeral wreath at Millersburgh, Ohio on March 5, 1980. The mature fruit, a hip, anatomically cognate with apples and pears, but unusual among most cultivars of this species, is edible, and contains appreciable quantities of ascorbic acid. Formerly, petals were smoked by the Queens of Siam, and offered for that use to guests during royal audiences; when strewn in the paths of the brilliant, or of heads of state, they are symptomatic of acclaim.”

Hollis Frampton
Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera)

5 in portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS 2 in an edition of 14,1982
Chromogenic color print, 49.8 x 39.4 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1986:0018:0007

From the portfolio ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, text by Frampton: “LOTUS (Nelumbo nucifera): These specimens were purchased by the author in June, 1980 from J & S Oriental Grocery on Erie Boulevard in Syracuse, New York as part of a packet of fourteen specimens costing seventy-nine cents. The species is prized only for the edibility of the immature tuber represented here; unlike the sort from Gondwanaland, it never harbors jewels. The ancient euphoriac psychotropin of the Nile valley derived from the fruit of a tree, Zizyphus lotus, of the buckthorn family.”

Perhaps taking the name “By Any Other Name” from the famous line in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Frampton again treats his subject matter as specimens. He uses color Xerographs to reproduce the images of products that use the name of one thing to sell another. This can be related to his interest in cultural symbolism and the endlessly referential system of signifiers that we exist in. The products were also found and kept in personal collections the same way that the dried specimens from ADSVMVS ABSVMVS were, and thus treated scientifically. The prints by nature are yet another removal from the original “specimen,” adding to the layers. Xerography was an interesting choice for this project because it acts as a trace of the original, an idea that Frampton returned to frequently, and perpetuates the idea of death in a representational, but not necessarily morbid, way. SW

Hollis Frampton
[Pine Cone brand peeled tomatoes] From the series By Any Other Name
Series 3, 1983

Color Xerograph, 21.5 x 35.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection, Gift of the artist

There are several other correlations between the series By Any Other Name and ADSVMVS ABSVMVS, such as the reoccurrence of the lotus. In the Xerograph it is depicted as a beautiful idealized plant used to sell the sake for which it serves as a mascot. In ADSVMVS ABSVMVS it is dried and real, all of its imperfections laid bare. SW

Hollis Frampton
[Lotus flower brand sake] From the series By Any Other Name
Series 3, 1983

Color Xerograph, 21.5 x 35.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection, Gift of the artist
2000:0111:0011

Hollis Frampton
[Aeroplane drum sticks] From the series By Any Other Name
Series 3,1983

Color Xerograph, 21.5 x 35.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection, Gift of the artist
2000:0111:0005

Hollis Frampton
[Pistol brand soy sauce] From the series By Any Other Name
Series 3, 1983
Color Xerograph, 21.5 x 35.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection, Gift of the artist
2000:0111:0012

Bea Nettles

Bea Nettles, ca. 1971 Self portrait From the exhibition guide Puffed Parades (1971)

Bea Nettles
Western July: Summer Instamatics [page 3]
Self published, Colorado, 1972

Gelatin silver print stitched into Mylar notebook page, 29 x 25 x 4 cm
Number one in an edition of six, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne - We

While teaching at the Center of the Eye in Aspen, Colorado, Nettles used a 35mm half-frame camera that eventually broke. It was then that she purchased and began using an inexpensive Instamatic camera to take snapshots. Western July is the first book of Instamatic photographs that she titled and is an example of her experimentation with the sequencing of snapshot images.

The affordable snapshot camera created an element of mystery surrounding the final outcome. It was likely that the images would be distorted in some way and deviate from what was initially seen through the viewfinder. It was uncertain whether or not the images would even be in focus. Nettles was intrigued by this lack of control and explored the potential of this photographic practice to its limits.

Page three exemplifies the quality of the image that is produced using an Instamatic. Although certain components of the image are apparent, the lack of focus creates an element of curiosity. The blurriness combined with the subject matter gives the image a dreamlike feel, an element Nettles continues to explore. MS

Bea Nettles
Western July: Summer Instamatics [page 8] Self published, Colorado, 1972

Gelatin silver print stitched into Mylar
notebook page 29 x 25 x 4 cm
Number one in an edition of six, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection,
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne - We

Page eight of Western July: Summer Instamatics is one of many in the sequence that deal directly with people as the main subject matter. Nettles’s sister Connie is pictured in more than one photo and one of the men lying on the rock in this image is photographer and VSW alumnus Alex Sweetman. The casual nature of this image, as well as the images throughout the rest of the book, creates a compelling glimpse into Nettles’s short time living in Aspen, Colorado. MS

Bea Nettles
Western July: Summer Instamatics [page 10] Self published, Colorado, 1972

Gelatin silver print stitched into Mylar notebook page, 29 x 25 x 4 cm
Number one in an edition of six, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Independent Press Archive

Z232.5 .N475 Ne - We

Page ten of Western July: Summer Instamatics is the final page in the book. It is the only interior space represented in the sequence. A window provides the only illumination in the space. The abstract lines of light, as well as the extreme angle, create an air of mystery. This creates an interesting dichotomy between the light space and the dark space as well as the interior versus the glimpse of an implied exterior. MS

Bea Nettles
Dream Pages [cover]
Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1975

Offset lithograph and screen print, 23.5 x 18.5 x .25 cm
Edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Dr

The 1975 book Dream Pages is from a signed edition of 100 printed at the Visual Studies Workshop. At the time the book was printed, Nettles could only afford one color of ink and the book is printed in a dark purple. The images were created using a Haloid Xerox machine. The additional gold coloring is screen-printed onto the pages and golden palm trees are screen printed onto the grey cover. The book is contained in a pale yellow, vinyl, machine sewn slipcase. The book includes both text and manipulated offset lithograph imagery. The text comes from a dream journal the artist was keeping at the time. An inscription at the end of the book reads, “For several years I have written down my remembered dreams. On these pages I have included those most vividly recalled…flying, swimming, swinging across the landscape.” MS

Bea Nettles
Dream Pages[pages 9- 10]
Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1975

Offset lithograph and screen print, 23.5 x 18.5 x .25 cm
Edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Dr

Bea Nettles
Dream Pages[pages 15-16]
Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1975

Offset lithograph and screen print, 23.5 x 18.5 x .25 cm
Edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection,
Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Dr

Bea Nettles
Dream Pages [page 18]
Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1975

Offset lithograph and screen, 23.5 x 18.5 x .25 cm
Edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection,
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Dr

Bea Nettles
Of Loss and Love [cover]
Self published, Rochester, 1975

Red book cloth with gold screen print, 25 x 18 x .75 cm
Number 86 in an edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection,
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Of

The 1975 book Of Loss and Love is signed and numbered 86 of 100. Nettles used offset lithography in four colors and taught herself how to print using a small format Davidson 500 offset press. The book was then machine sewn and case bound with red book cloth. The cover includes the title and a design, both screenprinted in golden ink. This is Nettles’s first book using a professional typesetter. The book contains a series of poems written by the artist’s mother, Grace Nettles. The poems explore themes of both loss and love. Loss is a theme that is evident in Nettles’s other photographic works. There is a range of imagery accompanying the poems in this book. Nettles incorporates elements of collage as well as appropriation along with photographs. MS

Bea Nettles
Of Loss and Love[pages 3-4]
Self published, Rochester, 1975

Offset lithograph,25 x 18 x .75 cm
Number 86 in an edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Of

Bea Nettles
Of Loss and Love [pages 15-16]
Self published, Rochester, 1975
Offset lithograph, 25 x 18 x .75 cm
Number 86 in an edition of 100
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .N475 Ne-Of

Bea Nettles
The Nymph of the Highlands [pages 11-12]

Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1974
Offset lithograph and blue tissue paper, 14 x 11 x .25 cm
Edition of 200
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834 Ne-Ny

The 1974 book The Nymph of the Highlands is one in a series of children’s books. In this book Nettles uses manipulated photographic imagery to accompany a story written by her thirteen-year-old sister Connie Nettles. It is one of many instances in which she collaborates with family members in her work. The narrative itself is a creation story. Nettles has cast herself in the role of the Nymph. In the story, the Nymph has two one-eyed monsters in her life. The monsters do not know about each other and when each discovers the other’s existence a battle to the death ensues. They go under the water and reemerge as one young man, which alludes to the creation of the world. MS

Bea Nettles
The Nymph of the Highlands [pages 15-16]

Printed at Visual Studies Workshop,Rochester, 1974
Offset lithograph and blue tissue paper, 14 x 11 x .25 cm
Edition of 200
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834 Ne-Ny

Bea Nettles
The Nymph of the Highlands [pages 17-19]

Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1974
Offset lithograph and screen print on Mylar,14 x 11 x .25 cm
Edition of 200
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834 Ne-Ny

Bea Nettles
The Nymph of the Highlands [pages 17-19]

Printed at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, 1974
Offset lithograph and screen print on Mylar, 14 x 11 x .25 cm
Edition of 200
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834 Ne-Ny

Bart Parker

Bart Parker, 2010
Photo by Stan Strembicki

Bart Parker
Behind the Eye Level of Stick, 1975

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0046

In this self-portrait with his then wife Yvonne, Parker is attempting to show the function of vision. What the subject sees, what the camera sees and what the viewer sees is important. This image makes the viewer aware of all of the visual systems that can occur simultaneously in an image. When the stick is placed at Yvonne’s eye level, she can look up to him. When it is placed at his eye level, he can look down upon her, but when it is placed again at her eye level and she steps forward, he cannot view her; however, his vision extends from this third image back into the first, which is quite interesting and complex. Is he suggesting memory and the extension of vision into the past, vision that he had before the stick was placed in such a way that he could no longer see her in the present? JM

Bart Parker
Handy Fears, 1979

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1983:0046:0001

Many of Parker’s images reveal a concern with word play. With this image, he creates a poem about hands. Every sentence in the poem uses the word hands as the images reinforce this concept. The poem is about the artist making this work and at the same time it is about the viewer viewing the work. He comments on the very act of possibly touching the print as it is viewed. For a moment in the poem he turns to nails—nails in terms of fingernails and at the same time in terms of nails as in hardware. In the image there is a man’s hand which seems to be “scratching at the surface” of a table with his nails. The woman’s hands are hidden and busy. JM

Bart Parker
[Knife Diptych], 1978

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0075

Parker is commenting on the visual systems in this knife diptych. The text below the images reads: "Camera sees (left). Camera is proxy for eyes 2 11/16” apart (right). See dull knife in front of left eye. Do we see eye to eye."

Here Parker is pointing out the discrepancies that occur in perception. There is a play on visual perception and simultaneously a play on words. Again there is the question of what is seen, who it is seen by, and how it is seen, and then how what is seen is verbalized. JM

Bart Parker
You See L.A. #1, 1976

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0055

The next three images titled “You See L.A.” #1, #2, and #3 are mysterious and intriguing. There is a play on words in the title as Parker was a visiting artist at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1975 to 1976, hence UCLA or You See L.A. The iron, figure and feather rest directly on the focusing track of his large format camera, pointing out the presence of the camera in the making of these images. Not only is the camera present, but is also literally and figuratively part of the image as is the photographer. All of Parker’s prints in the collection are carefully printed but these in particular are stunning. They are rich with tonality and the prints seem to glow, with the curtain in the background shimmering in the light. The objects on the focusing track seem to suggest UCLA, at work, at play, and at rest. JM

Bart Parker
You See L.A. #2 [figure], 1976

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0056

Bart Parker
You See L.A. #3, 1976

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift
 of
 the 
artist
1981:0093:0082

Bart Parker
Self as Visitor, 1972

Gelatin silver print, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0064

There are two photographs from the Visitor series in the Visual Studies Workshop collection. This one titled "Self as Visitor" is in fact a self-portrait of the artist in which he has replaced his facial features with what looks to be a crackling painted wooden surface. The line in this surface of his face is placed in such a way that it replicates the dimensions of an actual nose. It is as if the man is taking on the features of the building while at the same time the building takes on the features of the man, as a giant eye onto the world grows above him. JM

Bart Parker
Visitor, 1973

Gelatin silver print, 35.6 x 27.9 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0026

A woman sits on a wall at the edge of the sea in this image titled Visitor. Her face looks to be replaced with a forest scene and the waves of the sea are foaming white behind her. Her hair and skirt have blown to one side and her thick sweater suggests a chill in the air, however her body and hands look very relaxed and comfortable. The serenity of the forest scene and her manner conflict with the force of the wind and the sea. JM

Bart Parker
A Close brush With Reality: Photographs and Writings, 1972-1981

Rochester: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1981
Perfect Bound, 25.4 x 20.8 x .5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834

A Close Brush with Reality: Photographs and Writings, 1972-1981 is a collection of images, writings, journal entries, and stories by Bart Parker. This monograph is biographical and combines many of Parker’s visual puns. The cover itself is a visual pun as it represents the title almost literally. There is a toothbrush in the foreground, making it appear “close,” and reality is just a room, most likely in his home. This book was printed at the Visual Studies Workshop Press with assistance in design and editing from Joan Lyons. JM

Bart Parker
[Would Will], ca 1975

Chromogenic color prints with self adhesive lettering, 27.9 x 35.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1981:0093:0064

“Would Will” is an often reoccurring word play in Parker’s work. He borrowed several legs from a prop seller in Los Angeles in order to explore this theme. In this case a wood(en) (would) leg is placed at the edge of a pool as if considering whether it would (wood) or would (wood) not enter the pool. The second image shows that it will and did in fact as it is now floating in the pool. JM

Bern Porter

Bern Porter with found sculpture at Institute for Advanced Thinking, Belfast, Maine, early 1990s. Photographer Unknown. George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bern Porter Collection, Bowdoin College, Brunswick Maine.

Bern Porter
Dieresis[pages 8-9], Rockland, ME: Bern Porter, 1969

Number 29 in an edition of 100, signed
Perfect bound 104 pages, 15.3 x 10.5 x .6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.P844P0-Di

The word "dieresis" refers to the division of two syllables, typically in poetry, in regard to rhythm. Porter applies this to found photographs over the spreads of his book Dieresis. In this page spread a photograph of a jet engine is juxtaposed with smiling, waving women in bathing suits. Formally, the women, turned vertically, mimic the trajectory of the jet engine, creating a harmonic ascension. Thematically, the combination of images is less obvious, as are many of the pairings in Dieresis, though meaning can be sought in any number of contexts: phallic technology paired with bathing beauties, or an emblematic portrait of America. DV

Dick Hiiggins, illus by Bern Porter
Die fabelhafte Geträume von Taifun Willi [pages 12-13]
Somerville, MA: Abyss Publications, 1970

Perfect bound 38 pages 23 x 14 x .7 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.A167Hi-Di

Higgins had been publishing Fluxus works through his own press for several years when he approached Bern Porter to add illustrations to his story Die fabelhafte Getraume von Taifun Willi. Porter's collages with their large patches of white obscuring the original photograph complement Higgins's absurd narrative by managing to illustrate the story by echoing the tone of the text. DV

Bern Porter
The Manhattan Telephone Book [page 97]
Somerville, MA/Belfast, ME: Abyss Publications/Bern Porter International, 1972

Perfect bound 250 pages, 21.6 x 14.4 x 1.8 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.A167 Po-Ma

For The Manhattan Telephone Book Porter used a Manhattan telephone book as source material for a book of concrete poetry. Using the found text and graphics and adding his own writing, Porter created a satiric, visual alphabet book. On page 97, as part of a series of pages dedicated to the letter N, Porter has enlarged a found "NO" and added his own rhythmic "no" poem. DV

Bern Porter
The Wastemaker 1926-1961, [pages 52-53]
Somerville, MA: Abyss Publications, 1972

Perfect bound 288 pages, 21.2 x 14 x 1.2 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.A167 Po-Wa

Concerned and perhaps consumed by America's culture of consumption, Porter mined thirty-five years of printed advertising ephemera to create The Wastemaker 1926-1961. Influenced by the Dadaists, Porter's compositions playfully mix multiple disparate visual elements across the pages.Though the prominent, bold headline "Girls Can't Be Trusted" may cause one to read into Porter's personal life, his books are typically focused more outwardly. DV

Bern Porter
The Book Of Do's [pages 62-63]
Hull's Cove, ME: Dog Ear Press, 1982
Perfect bound 330 pages, 27.2 x 21.5 x 2.7 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.D654 Po-Do

From his vast collection of magazines, mailers, and newspapers, Porter extracted affirmative commands from advertisements to create The Book of Do's(sic). Taken out of context, the slogans become a giddy manual of absurd directions for an adrift, easily swayed culture. To find source material for his work, Porter made a daily trip to his local post office to retrieve the bulk mailings people had cast into the trash and recycling bins. DV

Bern Porter
Here Comes Everybody's Don't Book [pages 238-239]
South Harpswell, ME: Dog Ear Press, 1984

Perfect Bound 434 pages, 27.3 x 21 x 2.8 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.D654 Po-He

As an inevitable complement to The Book of Do'sPorter created Here Comes Everybody's Don't Book. As with most of Porter's books, the achievement lies in his single-mindedness of the method. Over the course of 400 pages, headlines and slogans with the word "don't" in them were cut, arranged and pasted into new compositions. Seen en masse, these pages remind us how prevalent the word "don't" is in advertising. DV

Bern Porter
[fabulous felines], 1986
Found from the "Record of Production" portfolio
signed and dated, 28 x 21.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.P844 Po-Re.22

This photocopied collage uses a magazine photo of a man in a parka with a collage construction over his face and extending down his chest. During his residency, Porter used the same background image in other variations but by numbering this version "1/1" he indicates each variation is a separate piece. DV

Bern Porter
[untitled], 1986

Photocopied collage from the "Record of Production" portfolio
numbered 1/1 signed and dated, 15 x 25.7 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.P844 Po-Re.23

Three of the signed pieces in the "Record of Production" are cropped catalogue pages. The example here is a section of a rubber stamp catalogue that was probably a large folded poster. Porter cut it down to the size of photocopy paper and signed it in the lower right hand corner. DV

Bern Porter
[untitled], 1986

Photocopied collage from the "Record of Production" portfolio
signed and dated, 28 x 21.6 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5.P844 Po-Re.38

This collage from the "Record of Production" stands in stark contrast to the cleaner, more spacious found poems of his books. The image covers the whole page; text peers through tears in the image but is obscured, creating a more frenetic composition than he typically made. DV

Bern Porter
CIAO, 1968

Photolithograph poster, numbered 3/46, signed and dated, 61 x 45.9 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Print Collection
2000:0156:0001

At first glance Ciao seems to be a traditional handwritten verse with absent-minded doodles in the margins, but upon closer inspection, the format of Ciao contains Porter's trademarks. Each line, though all written in the same hand, is a different voice, a different conversation, though the varied elements create a cohesive somber whole. DV

Sonia Landy Sheridan

Sonia Landy Sheridan in front of the Haloid Xerox, ca. 1978 Photographer unknown Image supplied by the artist

Sonia Landy Sheridan
Time Plane [cover]
Rochester: Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1973

Haloid Xerox platemaker, AB Dick
Duplicator, telecopier and Sony cassette recorder
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 .V834

One of Sheridan’s three artist’s books in the VSW collection, Time Plane is a small, simply bound book created during June of 1973 at Visual Studies Workshop with a grant from the Nobel Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The images in this artist’s book were made on the Haloid Xerox Platemaker with various intervening processes. The primary image was made with a Haloid Xerox camera. This particular camera was five feet long. To create the image, an electrostatically charged plate was inserted into the camera and then exposed to light, then the plate was placed into a special box with beads coated in toner. The box was then shaken to produce the image. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
Dead Bird, 1972

3M Color-in-Color, 21.5 x 28 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1981:0039:0020

This image not only differs in content but also in color when compared to other Sheridan holdings at VSW. The image is a bridge between Sheridan’s most prominent color techniques, as it is neither saturated nor void of color. Because of the very large windows of the Generative Systems room at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, many birds would meet their untimely deaths when flying into the window. This is Sheridan’s documentation of one of the birds. According to Sheridan, they later placed an image of an owl on the window to deter the animals. The fading or discoloration along the edges of the piece are characteristic of the aging 3M Color-in-Color print. The ink is not permanent and the company halted further technological advancements on the machine, discontinuing it in the late 1970s. This image appeared in Sheridan’s solo traveling exhibition The Inner Landscape and the Machine under the representation of the Visual Studies Workshop Gallery in 1974. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
[pink and green Thermo-fax], ca. 1975

3M Thermo-fax, 21.5 x 28 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1981:0039:0005

The movement of marks in this image creates a pattern reminiscent of a topographical map. This 3M Thermofax image is one of 100 typically created from an original. It is made on 3M Thermofax blue frame paper and 3M Color-in-Color dye sheets which are hand-folded and ironed using a household iron. Sheridan refers to herself as a “research artist” concentrating on the “utility of the system and not the product.” She is excited by the “sheer joy of exploration.” SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
[portrait with Keith Smith], ca. 1975

3M Color-in-Color I, II, 21.5 x 28 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1981:0039:0021

Sheridan often worked in conjunction with artist Keith Smith, who is also recognized in this exhibition. In this particular image there is a visible connection to the first piece in this sequence, where the face is placed directly onto the platen of the 3M Color-in-Color copier. Smith and Sheridan’s content, angelic expressions, paired with the cloud-like wisps of color, may give viewers the sense that they are emerging from a dream-like realm. These wisps of color are the result of the original image being ironed from red to blue flame papers, which interrupts the chemicals and causes them to react to the paper in this manner. Other examples of collaboration between Sheridan and Smith in the VSW collection include two artist’s books titled Unfolding Volume One and Two. These books were made at VSW during June of 1973 under a grant from the Nobel Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
Self Portrait, 1974

3M Color-in-Color, 16.7 x 24.8 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1979:0050:0002

The invention of the 3M Color-in-Color copy machine in the late 1960s gave rise to a new agent in which to create art in a time when technologies in still imaging machines were becoming more advanced. This self-portrait is composed in a very personal and intimate manner, pushing the boundaries of the 8.5 x 11-inch size restraint of the Color-in-Color’s final product and the small area of the platen of the machine. In the early years of the 3M Color-in-Color machine in Sheridan’s classroom at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, C-in-C inventor Doug Dybvig and 3M project manager Don Conlin would often come in for workshops, serving as important resources to the students. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
[fabric piece with C in C transfers and stitching]

3M Color in Color I, II, image transfers on fabric with stitching, 61.5 x 52.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of Nathan Lyons
2010:0001:0001

This object hung in the office of Nathan Lyons at Visual Studies Workshop from the middle of the 1970s until he donated it to the VSW collection in 2001. Made in 1974 during a 3M demonstration held at VSW, it is a wonderful example of how versatile the 3M Color-in-Color copier was, which could create prints on many different surfaces such as fabric. The piece is embellished with thick yarn, highlighting the center image—a portrait of Lyons. Following the edges of the quilt are small images labeled with the names of the individuals in the photographs, making this a very original and interesting record of VSW history. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
Pearl Body Scan, 1972

3M Color-in-Color, 24.7 x 16.7 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1979:0050:0003

A small reproduction of a larger tiled image, this high-contrast piece shows Sheridan’s heightened attention to placement of color in the highlights and shadows to create a dynamic composition. The figure’s position renders her celebrated and idolized as she reclines within the grid of the frame. Notice the way that the individual blocks of imagery don’t seamlessly match up, creating a heightened sense of tension in the composition. The tiled look of the image is directly related to the size constraint of the 3M Color-in-Color machine. To produce a large image such as this one the figure would have to pass over the platen of the machine for each segment. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
[body print of Marsha Sokol], 1973

3M Color-in-Color, 22 x 28 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1981:0118:0002

The invention of the 3M Color-in-Color copy machine in the late 1960s gave rise to a new agent in which to create art in a time when technologies in still imaging machines were becoming more advanced. This self-portrait is composed in a very personal and intimate manner, pushing the boundaries of the 8.5 x 11-inch size restraint of the Color-in-Color’s final product and the small area of the platen of the machine. In the early years of the 3M Color-in-Color machine in Sheridan’s classroom at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, C-in-C inventor Doug Dybvig and 3M project manager Don Conlin would often come in for workshops, serving as important resources to the students. SC

Sonia Landy Sheridan
[hand], ca. 1975

Electrostatic thermal print, 21.5 x 28 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
1981:0116:0036

Within Sheridan’s holdings in the Visual Studies Workshop collection lie many variations of this image as well as similar pieces using the foot instead of hand. SC

Keith Smith

Keith Smith, 2009
Photo by Anne Punzi

Keith Smith
Masturbation Meditation, 1976

Photo etching, 20.40 x 15.00 cm (image)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1977:0070:0014

Masturbation Meditation, a photo etching, is an example of Smith’s autobiographical work dealing with gay identity. Homoerotic content is widely represented in Smith’s work. Three years after the making of this photo etching, VSW Press published a book with Smith by the same title. The book is available for viewing at the Nathan Lyons Research Center at Visual Studies Workshop. MC

Keith Smith
Alan Undressing, 1975

Photo etching, 21.50 x 12.50 cm (image)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1977:0070:0015

"Alan Undressing," a photo etching, is a combination of photography and drawing. This process, frequently used in Smith’s earlier work, came about from his interest in screen printing and photo etching, developed when he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the mid sixties. The marriage of photography and drawing is prominent in much of his work. MC

Keith Smith
Photographer in a Landscape, 1976

Photo etching, 20.00 x 12.50 cm (image)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1977:0070:0012

In "Photographer in a Landscape," Smith combines photography and drawing into one cohesive print. This particular print is a photo etching, which was a widely used medium for Smith. There are thirty-four of Smith’s earlier photo etchings in the Visual Studies Workshop collection. MC

Keith Smith
Change of Address, 1975

Photo etching, 10.70 cm (image diameter)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1977:0070:0001

This photo etching, "Change of Address," is an example of functional art. Both technically and compositionally strong, this print, in an edition of seventy-five, was created as a change of address card to be mailed out. Smith rarely sold any of his prints throughout his career; many were given away to friends and institutions, or kept for himself. MC

Keith Smith
[Untitled] Printed in 1972, scratched in 1973, and sewed in 1974

Thermofax monoprint, 17.70 x 21.00 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection Gift of the artist
1974:0051:0001

"Untitled," a Thermofax monoprint, was completed over a three-year period, beginning in April of 1972 with a photograph he then contact printed. Smith returned to the print in November 1973 and scratched away at the surface, selectively highlighting features of the face by exposing the chrome-like Mylar base and creating silver lines. On March 27, 1974 he sewed (with various colored threads) on the print, highlighting the edges of the structures within the print. This print was never intended to take three years to finish. On the contrary, each stage of the print was “complete” to some degree and Smith just so happened to come across it in one of his flat files and decided to further alter it. MC

Keith Smith
Under Veil, 1971

3M color print, string, cloth, 22.00 x 27.50 cm (print)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1973:0116

"Under Veil" stands out among the other holdings of Smith’s work in the Nathan Lyons Research Center at Visual Studies Workshop. While including a 3M color print, this piece is mostly made up of cloth, made to be viewed as a hanging tapestry. The use of the veil covering the entirety of the work complicates the viewing of the print. The fact that the print itself is in color helps bring attention to it, barely distinguishable from beneath the veil. When asked about the decision to include a veil in this piece, Smith responded: “I must have had some sheer material, so I thought about window curtains, but liked the idea of a veil better. Veils are for women, but I believe in equal rights, so why not a veil for a man? I like the ‘hidden aspect’ of a veil, not the religious intimidation. My homosexuality was thinly veiled at that time.” MC

Keith Smith
Under Veil [detail of 3M color print], 1971

3M color print, string, cloth, 22.00 x 27.50 cm (print)
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1973:0116

The very act of covering the 3M color print in "Under Veil" in this unorthodox fashion symbolizes the shift in focus to the print itself during this experimental time in contemporary art. MC

Keith Smith
My First Book of Prints via Verifax,Chicago: Keith Smith, 1973

Verifax prints, thread, 35.25 x 32.00 x 2.75 cm
Edition of one, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654 Sm-My

My First Book of Prints via Verifax, Smith’s thirty-third book, is a one-of-a-kind artist’s book. There is a stitched paper dedication to VSW inserted into the book. Smith inscribed a detailed statement of process in the back of the book: “The prints in this book are Verifax matrix and transfers of the matrix to Urachi etching paper. I have overexposed and underdeveloped in Verifax activator; some flashing was done. The print-offs and matrix have been fixed and washed—but I have made only superficial checks to test their permanency, as I have only been working with Verifax a few weeks. The pictures in this book have no hand-applied color. The prints were made from auto-screen film positives, which were made from my 35mm negatives of Gary Frost in 1968.” MC

Keith Smith
My First Book of Prints via Verifax [pages 4-5], Chicago: Keith Smith, 1973

Verifax prints, thread, 35.25 x 32.00 x 2.75 cm
Edition of one, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654 Sm-My

The prints in My First Book of Prints via Verifax are bound in a way that allows for the pages to be turned without touching the physical prints, which are sewn onto paper with various colors of cotton thread. MC

Keith Smith
Book 102 [cover], Rochester: VSW Press, 1984
80 lb cover, superfine linen cord
13.00 x 15.00 x 2.00
Number 50 in an edition of 100, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654

A master of book art, Keith Smith’s Book 102 is an example of using the book itself as subject matter. The book was hand-bound in an edition of 100. Making the book in a large edition was important to Smith as a way of making it more accessible to his audience, specifically students. Up until this point the majority of his books were one-of-a-kinds, and according to Smith, were viewed by few people as the books were mostly stored in his house, or exhibited behind glass cases. MC

Keith Smith
Book 102[pages 30-31], Rochester: VSW Press, 1984

80 lb cover, superfine linen cord
13.00 x 15.00 x 2.00 cm
Number 50 in an edition of 100, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654

The lack of any of the typical elements in a book such as images or text, as well as the concentric circles cut out from the book block of Book 102, which move in and out of the book, reading from left to right, make the reader focus on the book as an object and on the act of reading. MC

Keith Smith
Stitches [pages 6-7], Chicago: Keith Smith, 1974

Paper, sewing thread, fabric, board
26.25 x 37.50 x 2.50 cm
Edition of one, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654 Sm-St

Stitches, Smith’s thirty-seventh book, is a one-of-a-kind artist’s book created specifically as a gift for the Visual Studies Workshop collection. Inscriptions on the front and back covers dedicate this book to Joan and Nathan Lyons as well as the students of VSW. Stitches is a variation of Smith’s Book 28. MC

Keith Smith
Stitches [pages 15-16], Chicago: Keith Smith, 1974

Paper, sewing thread, fabric, board
26.25 x 37.50 x 2.50 cm
Edition of one, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
The Nathan Lyons Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654 Sm-St

The thread weaving through the pages of the book Stitches brings attention to the book as a physical object, while the sewn stitches imply the act of mark making. MC

Keith Smith
Stitches [detail of pages 15-16], Chicago: Keith Smith, 1974

Paper, sewing thread, fabric, board
26.25 x 37.50 x 2.50 cm
Edition of one, signed
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Independent Press Archive
Z232.5 S654 Sm-St

The use of thread and the act of sewing is prominent in Smith’s earlier work, an example of how photographers during this time period experimented with other media and processes including photo-etchings, 3M color prints, and Verifax transfers. MC

John Wood

John Wood, 1974 Self portrait Visual Studies Workshop Information Files

John Wood
San Juan Pueblo, Dance, New Mexico, ca. 1965

Gelatin silver print, 19.5 x 18.5 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0012:0001

Drawing upon time spent absorbing the landscape in New Mexico, the interaction between light and movement through space became significant to Wood’s image making process. With the intention of generating kinetic activity within the frame of a photograph, Wood’s use of a turn-table mechanism during the exposure process creates a sense of action within the frame that brings the atmosphere of the subject to the forefront of viewers’ attention. Wood continued to create abstracted images by re-using negatives from this body of work to explore kinetic movement as a means of photographic manipulation. HTA

John Wood
Untitled [Carol playing the flute], ca. 1965

Gelatin silver print, 16.4 x 23.8 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0012:0016

Influenced by Harry Callahan’s use of the photographic sequence during the 1960s, Wood became invested in extending the meaning of a single image through repetition and serial forms. Often with multiple images within the frame, his attention to sequence and layout achieved dynamic compositions. With a poetic narrative that focuses on light on the subjects, Carol is seen in an active position, playing a flute. This frame is followed by images of apples and birds with the same attention to light and shadow. The horizontal grid layout in this work is an example of Wood’s investment in the sequential composition. HTA

John Wood
Untitled, 1969

Collage with two gelatin silver prints, 26.5 x 20 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection,
Gift of the artist
1975:0012:0009

Wood’s interest in the circular form occurs in a number of works during this time, as an element that connotes cyclic movement within each composition. Through continued experimentation and interplay between positive and negative space, Wood reinterpreted negatives using a turntable to manipulate the frame in the exposure process. The compelling form in this particular image carries the viewer through a continuous gesture that exists within the frame to create an abstracted interpretation of an image seen in this series of photographs, such as "San Juan Pueblo Dance," that focuses on Native American culture in New Mexico. HTA

John Wood
[Untitled: Nathan Lyons from left to right and right to left], ca. 1974

Etching, 35.5 x 49.5 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0012:0021

Interested in the correlation between camera dynamics and the activity of various reproductive processes in image making, Wood created works that could be transformed and reinterpreted through various stages of process and material. Along with these notions, he was in search of the intersection between his own emotive response to his subject, which in the instance of this work, was Nathan Lyons himself. The inscription in the lower right corner of the print indicates the use of a copper plate with 3M resist to create a composite image of the recognizable photographic sequence entitled Nathan Lyons from left to right and right to left. HTA

John Wood
Untitled [Tractor] ca. 1965

Kodalith print, 36 x 43 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0012:0025

Wood’s intentional separation of one image is seen here as a multiple frame piece that serves as a type of collage. The subject matter is still fully accessible to the viewer, but complicated visually because of the process in which it is composed. This follows Wood’s desire to create action in the picture plane through untraditional means. HTA

John Wood
Untitled, A Portfolio of Offset Lithographs [3 of 12], 1980

Offset photo-lithograph, 45 x 63 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0103:0003

After finishing the program at the Institute of Design in the 1950s, Wood began to experiment with the process of photo-lithography, a process that was not common among artists during this time. He states in a 1970s interview at the Visual Studies Workshop “it was a real struggle to get things to work.” As he continued to work through his process throughout the 60s and 70s, he incorporated photo-silkscreen on litho stone as well as gelatin processes that became familiar methods in his work. HTA

John Wood
Untitled, A Portfolio of Offset Lithographs [1 of 12], 1980

Offset photo-lithograph, 63 x 45 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0103:0001

John Wood
Untitled, A Portfolio of Offset Lithographs [5 of 12], 1980

Offset photo-lithograph, 45 x 63 cm
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0103:0005

John Wood
Untitled, A Portfolio of Offset Lithographs [6 of 12], 1980

Offset photo-lithograph, 45 x 63 cm diameter
Visual Studies Workshop Collection
Gift of the artist
1975:0103:0006

Wood’s A Portfolio of Untitled Lithographs was created in 1980 and printed in an edition of forty. This work speaks to his interest in visual poetry as a means of complicating a subject. Combining free-handed mark making and printed imagery allowed Wood to demonstrate his own process of self-exploration along with a reinterpretation of media and its position in each field. Much of the compositional qualities of the prints can be linked to the influence of his study as a visual designer. The use of geometric overlay as a means of forced perspective is a consistent thread in his work from the time in flight during his career in the Air Force. The success of this body of work comes out of Wood’s ability to see the beauty in a photograph that can transpose a definite narrative within the frame to create statements that were both aesthetically and contextually interesting. HTA

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