Imaging Conflict

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Warrior
warrior, etching, etching on paper, war-like figure, series of prints, cultural artifact, experimentation with etching, print-making, etching using scrap wood, Alberta print-maker, etching plates, unconventional etching, plates, etching using sawdust, sand and paper,, etching series, etching, prints, fabricated plates, printmaking, warrior, unconventional materials, human figure
description
start quoteI approach printmaking objectively and most often allow the technique to lead the way.end quote
-- John Esler

The work shown here, Warrior, is one of a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  (entitled Bold Defenders) of warlike figures created by Esler from pieces of scrap wood. In his artist’s statement for the Experimental Prints show in 1964, Esler wrote of his work: “The majority of prints here are the result of a year of intensive experimentation. The orthodox procedures of making prints did not satisfy my ambition as a creative artist, consequently I found myself using unconventional materials, which, when printed, intrigued and fascinated me. My  fabricatedIn general, to make; to create. Often more specifically, to construct or assemble something. (Artlex.com)  plates are constructed with such things as: cloths, sawdust, sand and paper, in a way of collage.” (Eckhardt, 1964)

Esler was highly regarded nationally and internationally not only as an  avant-gardeFrench for vanguard. Artists and their work which stand in the forefront of a movement or of new ideas, often in opposition to established ideas and traditions; art that's ahead of its time, innovative, experimental, heterodox. The modern era has invariably had a flourishing avant-garde, but many have said it is no longer possible in a postmodern era. The bourgeoisie, once alienated by the avant-garde, rarely question any longer the presentation of any avant-garde's productions by their public institutions. (Artlex.com)  printmaker, but also as a teacher and  mentorA wise and faithful counselor or monitor. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  In art terms, an older established artist or teacher who takes a personal interest in the career of a younger artist and teaches, supports and advocates for the younger person.  for a generation of artists and printmakers in Alberta.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • How has Esler used what appear to be random-shaped pieces of wood to create Warrior? Can you think of ways you could use “found objects” to create something?
  • What does your choice say about your response to the idea of making art from found objects?
Advanced Activity

Use the zoom tool to closely observe Esler’s  etchingAn intaglio printing process in which an etching needle is used to draw into a wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a series of acid baths, each biting into the metal surface only where unprotected by the ground. The ground is removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the unetched surfaces wiped, and an impression is printed. Also, both the design etched on a plate and an impression made from an etched plate. Too often confused with engraving. (Artlex.com)  on paper.

As an  etchingAn intaglio printing process in which an etching needle is used to draw into a wax ground applied over a metal plate. The plate is then submerged in a series of acid baths, each biting into the metal surface only where unprotected by the ground. The ground is removed, ink is forced into the etched depressions, the unetched surfaces wiped, and an impression is printed. Also, both the design etched on a plate and an impression made from an etched plate. Too often confused with engraving. (Artlex.com)  on paper the only actual  textureThe quality of surface in a finished artwork; note that this can apply to painting in describing the way that the paint is applied to the canvas or other support; to sculpture in describing the way that the material used is made smooth or rough; or to video in describing the way that the light-based image is either smooth or visibly broken up into pixels.  in this artwork would be that of the  surface(an element of art) The outer or topmost boundary or layer of an object. Colours on any surface are determined by how incident rays of light strike it, and how a surface reflects, scatters, and absorbs those rays. The material qualities of a surface, as well as its form and texture further determine how it is seen and felt. (artlex.com) See also texture.  of the paper and any impressions into the paper left by the printing process. However notice the changes in value, shape, and  lineA mark with length and direction(-s). An element of art which refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. Types of line include: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, straight or ruled, curved, bent, angular, thin, thick or wide, interrupted (dotted, dashed, broken, etc.), blurred or fuzzy, controlled, freehand, parallel, hatching, meandering, and spiraling. Often it defines a space, and may create an outline or contour, define a silhouette; create patterns, or movement, and the illusion of mass or volume. It may be two-dimensional (as with pencil on paper) three-dimensional (as with wire) or implied (the edge of a shape or form). (Artlex.com)  in the printed  inkLiquid or paste media containing pigment(s) and used for writing, pen and brush drawing, and printing. Writing inks, even blacks, are rarely sufficiently permanent to be used for art purposes. Black drawing ink, known as India ink in the United States, is especially made for use in permanent works. When it dries it is water resistant, enabling it to be gone over with a wash or watercolour. Also available is a water-soluble drawing ink; though otherwise permanent, it is capable of being washed away with water, and may be preferred to water-resistant ink for certain work. Chinese ink is similar to India ink, although various minor ingredients are added to enhance its brilliancy, range of tone, and working qualities. Most colored drawing inks are not permanent; those made with permanent pigments are usually labeled with names of pigment ingredients rather than the names of hues. Printing ink is actually more closely related to paints than to the pen and brush inks. (Artlex.com)  that suggest a  tactileOf or relating to the sense of touch. (artlex.com)  quality – this is called visual texture.

Can you think of any materials that may have a similar  textureThe quality of surface in a finished artwork; note that this can apply to painting in describing the way that the paint is applied to the canvas or other support; to sculpture in describing the way that the material used is made smooth or rough; or to video in describing the way that the light-based image is either smooth or visibly broken up into pixels.  to that of the  visual textureTexture that can be seen – and perhaps not felt at all.  in Warrior?

Online Activity
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Use the Shapes icon (the arrow) to choose from a range of bimorphic shapes.  Once you have chosen a number of shapes, arrange them in a manner similar to the way Esler has arranges pieces of scrap wood to create his Warrier

Studio Activity

Frottage - Create  textureThe quality of surface in a finished artwork; note that this can apply to painting in describing the way that the paint is applied to the canvas or other support; to sculpture in describing the way that the material used is made smooth or rough; or to video in describing the way that the light-based image is either smooth or visibly broken up into pixels.  collages by making rubbings of actual textures.

  • This process is also known as frottage.

Venetian blinds rubbing

Blinds 1Blinds 2Blinds 3

Window ledge rubbing

Window 1 Window 2 Window 3

Intercom speaker box rubbing

Intercom 1 Intercom 2 Intercom 3 Intercom 4 Intercom 5  Intercom 7 Intercom 8 Intercom 9 Intercom 10

References

Eckhardt, Ferdinand.  Experimental Prints by John K. Esler.  Exhibition catalogue.  Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1964.

Ford, Susan.  John Kenneth Esler: 35 years and 15 minutes.  Exhibition catalogue.  Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, Alberta, 1994.

Triangle Gallery.  John Kenneth Esler (1933-2001).  Exhibition write-up, Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts, Calgary, Alberta, 2001.  Retrieved from the Internet on January 21st, 2007 at http://www.trianglegallery.com/exhibits/con_memorium/index.html

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning