Monthly Archives: October 2011

Still Need a Costume? Want a Print?

With Halloween around the corner, perhaps you have a costume party or a neighborhood candy trawl in your future. Still in need of a costume? Want a limited edition print of yourself? If so, please consider donning a crown of flowers, maybe a parrot or some swarthy eyebrows – your choice – and send me a snapshot at ellenheck at gmail dot com. In an effort to finish the “Forty Fridas” project, I still need at least 20 more volunteers dressed as Frida Kahlo who would be willing to be the subject of a limited edition of woodcut and drypoint prints (some of which could be shown at Wally Workman in June of 2012). I’d love to send you a print that was made from your reference image along with many thanks for participating in the project. (Which is, by the way, open to all genders and all ages.) Happy Halloween!


What it will be: The Forty Fridas Project
What from you: a snapshot, or screenshot, or phoneshot of yourself being Frida (taken from straight on, if possible, to limit foreshortening)
What for you: a print from the edition of yourself
Ambiance: everybody’s wearing the Frida persona, but individuals still shine through

New Portfolio: Aging on Copper

Over the past year, I’ve been working on various uses of the multiple – exploring ways in which the repeatability of printmaking will allow for the depiction of collections, juxtaposition, movement, and the passage of time.

The recently finished experimental portfolio, “The Aging of Mark Twain on One Copper Plate” is a study of the icon, aging, and time. The youngest portrait of the writer is a drypoint and aquatint on copper. The subsequent portraits are each etched over the burnished earlier images – all on the same plate. As a result, a progressive ambient “history” accumulates, revealing visible shadows of the past that themselves fade with each impression.

While choosing an icon, like Mark Twain, fits within the greater plan for next summer’s show at Wally Workman, I think if I were to try this concept again, it would be nice to choose someone not-famous, whose face not everyone can recognize. By simplifying the project in this way, the focus would fall more on the themes of time, change, and the life of an unknown subject, and less on the question of likeness, or our preformed ideas about the legacy of a historical hero.

What: The Aging of Mark Twain on One Copper Plate
Where: five etchings in sepia/black on Somerset in a gray/black portfolio
When: June – October 2011
Ambiance: a chronicle of bow-tie fashion trends between 1850 and 1910

The Paper Quilt Project and sculpture by Nancy Mintz

The Paper Quilt Project is showing concurrently at the Berkeley Art Center and Traywick Contemporary through December. I was drawn to the Traywick opening this Saturday both by the lure of work-on-paper and the hope of finding new takes on repeated shape, collage, and other quilty sensibilities. Admittedly, I left the show suspecting that the real power pieces must all be housed at the BAC, because most of the paper pieces at Traywick were pretty tame. The booklet, however, promises wonderful surprises, so I’ll be sure to make it over to the other site.

For me, the hit of the current Traywick collection was new sculpture in the entryway by artist (and fellow Kala-ite) Nancy Mintz. Her walking houses, yearning ladders, and caged eggs continue the thought-provoking study of motherhood that she began at Traywick with her show last March.

Event: The Paper Quilt Project
Where: Berkeley Art Center and Traywick Contemporary
When: October 15 – December 4, 2011
Ambiance: (Traywick) a sleek multi-level, multi-nooked home/gallery inside a former Masonic Temple