Thursday, October 06, 2005
Etching (click image to enlarge)
Ink on Napkin
The artist is Dasha Shiskin, and I just love her work. It makes me excited to create prints when I find a contemporary woman artist that I like!!! Dasha Shishkin's Bosch-like etchings mix recollections with Russian mythology. Imposing limitations for each print, she creates swooping, elegant illustrations that when examined closely, suggest sinister moments.
Shishkin was born in 1977 in Moscow. Her compositions, often a nod to the chaotic worlds of Hieronymous Bosch, are rendered in a precise and handsome linear quality. The vocabulary of recurring figures and forms allows Shishkin to discuss what she calls "a larger theme of violence on paper where the works serve as literal illustrations to the abstract struggle of forces within an individual".
Each plate in the group of eight etchings titled The 400 Series was made in under four hours.These etchings are an example of the artist confronting violence and aggression by allowing them to manifest on a copper plate and then ultimately on paper. A simian-like animal wearing a feathered hood hands a ball to a woman in Victorian dress while a bald, moustached man in spectacles holds her in space while looking malevolently at the viewer. The man sits on the shoulders of another who is held by another who seems to be transfiguring, shrinking and flying away. Below, a daisy chain of horses perform. A trapeze artist plummets while a lone hand waits impotently near the top of the sheet. A headless woman falls out of the grasp of the transfigured man, and so go the actions and reactions in these riotous and psychologically charged prints.
Shishkin suggests that "the pictures exist as processes, without narratives or main characters. Like a city street flowing with crowds lacks narrative until someone, an audience member, breaks the mundane into events and gives it meaning".
Her drawings and smaller etchings are more poignant. Quick and surreal, they ambulate between daydreams and nightmares. The line is reminiscent of a very young Lucian Freud and the images of figures bursting out of each other, transmutating and assuming animal-like characteristics convey a twisted cruelty that hides out in our subconscious.
Dasha Shishkin will receive her MFA from Columbia University in 2006. She lives and works in New York City.