Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fish Series exhibition at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

Installation View. “Spirit Lake, Iowa Fish Series,” an exhibit of Giclée prints by David Versluis, will be on display through Dec. 11 at Luther College in the Kristin Wigley-Fleming Gallery of the Center for the Arts. Luther will host a reception for the artist Monday, November 23, 5:15-6:15 p.m. in the Gallery.

Versluis’s artist’s statement:

“God must like the smell of fish – but dead fish? It’s interesting that God’s first blessing, stated in Genesis, was for the fish of the sea and birds of the air. The works in this series are intended to be free metaphoric associations but some viewers have suggested these images speak about environmental concerns.

This series of Photoshop assemblages began in 2004 and comprise digital prints featuring a beached and dead yellow perch photographed at Spirit Lake, Iowa, in 2002. The fish image itself is loaded with meaning and conjures up many metaphors and can be thought of as a primordial symbol.

Perhaps the underlying basis for this exhibition comes from a 1966 Christian Art magazine interview with New York artist, Joachim Probst (1913–1978) who coined the statement, “Art is the stand against decay.” Probst elaborates,

Now how do I mean that art is a stand against decay? The moment you say art has something to do with line, form, color, you bring it into life and this means a stand against decay. By decay I mean rot. You live in fear or you face it through art…

— From an article in Christian Art, An interview with Joachim Probst and edited by Helene E. Nelson, Graphic House Inc., Chicago, 1966.

Spirit Lake, Iowa: Fish Triptych, Digital Prints, 2004 —
from the permanent collection of Dordt College.

As a stand against decay, my artwork tries to suggest an exploration and inquiry into the art-making process through a deeper understanding of composition, subject matter, interpretation, medium and technique. In addition, my work shows an affinity for the construction of the elements of art/design, but it is also tries to be successful on multiple levels as a form of expression and communication. I try to make work that uses enough careful observation and detail so that it is able to sustain viewer interest. In other words, it’s about the balance between form and content.

Other themes in the work may allude to ideas about trompe-l'œil by the use of drop shadows and sliced images that seem to push the optical illusion of the paper surface. By emphasizing the halftone, moiré, pixilation, and transparency I consider this body of work as being honest with the digital media. The images seem to suggest the software technology and special effects that was used to make them. I also see these images as emblematic of metaphor, simile, the design process, and the art of Japanese fish printing (gyotaku).

Giclée printing for this series is eight-color inkjet archival inks printed on Hahnemühle German Etching paper, natural white, made from 100% totally chlorine free (TCF) pulp. Images were printed summer 2007.”

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