The epic tale of the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse Printmaking Program. The Printmaking program is directed by Joel Elgin and features the odd collection of the many PrintFools who enroll, print and exist from semester to semester in the Shop of Tears.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sandow Birk meets Jacques Callot

PrintFools!
Be awake and alive to both the past and present. Callot's Miseries of War from 1633...

Jacques Callot 1633
(The Hanging) La Pendaison pl.11 from Les Grandes Miseres de la Guerre

(Click for more)

Sandow Birk: The Depravities of War from 2005...

Click here to watch a little movie about Sandow Birk's series.
(Extra Credit - what "GREAT printshop alumn printed Birk's images?)

and some more:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/themes/people/sandow-birk/

Hey - Look at another of Birk's series: Leading Causes of Death in America


Drinking, 2005
30 x 22” sheet size
direct gravure etching with gampi chine colle

29 comments:

Bec★ said...

I think Sandow Birk's print series on the "Leading Causes of Death in America" is very powerful. He tackles these huge issues that are right in front of our faces yet are hugely ignored.

The collaboration of style and idea between Callot and Birk is clear, despite the hundreds of years between them. Birk's traditional woodcut prints of "The Depravities of War" series at first glance may appear old but the imagery is contemporary and chilling.

Goya, Callot, and Birk are quite a threesome

chels said...

Birk's series is really depressing. He gets his point across so clearly and effectively! The drinking print.. it gets me annoyed and grossed out just looking at it! how fitting for the end of octoberfest.. i guess some wisconsin culture at its finest? i especially love the fact that he put nascar on the tvs.

I absolutely love his way of blatently saying LOOK AT THIS!!

katelyn said...

I agree with Chels....very disturbing yet true. the amount of detail in these is incredible. Birk really made sure to include all the details in these.

Caitlin said...

the styles of the two different series seem so different, but the detail in both is awesome.

the 'leading causes of death' are quite chilling.

Mark K said...

I agree with Becca in liking how his art deals with issues that are very important but not shown very often. I also like how his "depravities of war" series was done as woodcuts, it gives them a different feel.

zoe said...

I like the leading causes of death series.. the way its like you're watching someone slowly killing themselves without knowing it. I mean theyre just doing everyday things and then you realize.. wow, that could kill them. Anyway, its not like i want to watch people die, i just think its sad and terrifying how people kind of die slowly without knowing they're dying until its probably too late most of the time.

Erin said...

I LOVE Birk's series on the leading causes of death in America. Did you notice all those nasty cigarettes next to the guys hand on his computer mouse in Cancer??? They all seem to have little surprises like that thatyou find if you look closely. Amazing amount of detail but they aren't too busy. AWESOME PRINTS!!!! I am very inspired!

kirky b said...

Birk's series "Leading Causes of Death in America" is pretty awesome. I totally agree Chelsie, the drinking print is extremely reminiscent of our wonderful wisconsin culture. Great prints and great message though. It's obvious that he is passionate about his work. I think it's important that in our shop we all find something that sets a fire inside of us and really motivates us to make prints that we're really passionate about.

Meagan said...

wow, the detail is amazing in the "leading causes of death in america" series! These are some amazing prints and they really are true. I also really liked the detail in the woodcuts and the content was very powerful.

ellen said...

these prints are so true. and i also agree with chels about our fantastic midwest culture. kind of makes you look at yourself and your community.

once again i am in love with the detail, but i think that crazy intricate detail will always make me love a print.

carly said...

I agree with everyone - the leading causes series is awesome! very chilling (good word becca!). it's also effective that he used black and white prints for each picture. the black and white leaves me feeling empty - just a wicked horrible feeling for these people. what is the lady doing in the AIDs print? That is the only print I didn't understand...

Allison B said...

I agree. I thought this series of prints was very powerful as well. Definitely gives me ideas and inspires me to create. Very interesting.

Michelle said...

I really liked the leading causes of death series. They seem to be self explanatory and easy to read but still have so much to say. It is amazing how much as a society we know these ways are life are harmful and yet we still continue with them....kind of sad.

Allison Bayer said...

the drinking one made me laugh - it's so true, and Chels you definitely hit the money. Wisconsin's culture at it's finest - if only we could learn to separate ourselves from it. I'm trying. Live above the influence!

But really - Birk's images are so in your face solid - I found myself looking at his work for some inspiration today in the printshop. It's so hard to put a message that big into a printmaking square, but Birk shows that it is possible.

Jillian said...

I could not get that damn video to load. Quicktime is officially my enemy for the rest of the evening.

It is pretty cool to see how these printmakers have been inspired by each other. Birk's Depravities of War look like a direct reference to Callot's content and style.

The woman in the AIDs print appears to be doing something with a strip of condoms. I'm not sure what though. Like so many of these images, I wish I could look at it full size. The little details really add a lot to the content of the series. I found the suicide print particularly chilling.

Anonymous said...

His greatest strength to me is his skill in drawing. It is the foundation of creating a great image. His images trully are intriguing, easy to follow, and great technique. They seem highly controlled values and lines to give depth and increase content. The Leading Causes of Death series are great. I really like the drinking image and the way he depicts it.

libbyhansen said...

I'm taken with how closely aligned Callot's War and Birk's War prints are. The atrocities and depravities have the same consequences no matter what the year or time period. War was awful in 3000 BC, in 1600 AD, and is still shameful and gruesome in 2000 AD. The technical side of the prints show complete patience and diligence. As our beloved Maggie would say, "Slow the Fuck DOWN!" These artists took their time creating these images and it shows.

I am interested in Birk's "Death" series, it reminds me of my "New" Series. If there is one thing we all take away from art, it should be that we look upon the world with different eyes. Not all things are as they seem, nor should you accept appearance as truth.

Lisa said...

Birk's work reveals a connection and understanding to the genius works of other printmakers who explored the issues of war...such as Goya, Callot, Daumier. Birk's work also reveals a clear understanding of the art of depiction. ...very effective...reminds me of the work of Peggy Bacon as well.
...incredible that the GREAT printed some of Birk's work!

Jewels said...

I found myself squinting my eye to see every last detail in Birks work. I also thought it was interesting how all of the people were of a larger size. It could be just how they interpret people, or some of it could have been from a comical point. Very interesting yet, sad work. I enjoyed their prints.

Sarah said...

The leading causes of death series is amazing. On their own, each print is very interesting but when displayed together this series is incredible.

P.S. I was at the Milwaukee Art Museum this weekend and got to see some of Otto Dix's prints first hand!!

Shawn said...

I like the feel of these and how different they are from what we were looking at before. These look somewhat old and "textbook" ish, but i really like them overall. Very cool

mao said...

Again, regardless of where the war is, and when it occurs, the devastations and cruelties remain. The influence of Callot on Birks prints are clear. For example, in Birks Destruction print, the smokes coming out of the mosque and the layout of the mosques is very similar to Callot's Destroying a Convent print. If I had not known they were made by two different artists, I probably would have thought they were done by the same person. Caillot's Hanging piece struck me the most.

Mandy said...

There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it don't you?
-Rumi

As we have learned from recent news, we are all globally linked. "Death of America" is not only churning internally within the nation, but includes the death of the modernized world. However bleak we see these issues around us, I know there are people out there making a change for the better. There are people doing wonderful and amazing things with little recognition and publicity. Unfortunately, these great causes are brought to awareness mostly by celebrities who mean to do great things on a large scale, but are also extinguishing the efforts of the "no-namers" who do not have the fortune of being glamorous.

"If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a noise?" If people such as Joel do not expose you to atrocities in this world, do we not become aware enough to do something about them? Yes, they are depressing to some, but if you'd take the time to think and act on your feelings you are doing something positive.

You are lucky to be around during the world of blogging where you can get exposed to wonderful people doing courageous things to improve our world. If blogging was around when I was an undergrad at UW-L, then I think maybe I wouldn't have felt so isolated and self-involved. Get out there and read about these people, look at art, read books, blogs, magazines. What I see in Birks work is the worst modern human characteristic-apathy. I've been thinking a lot about the increasing popularity of apathy these days especially in our youth (eg. hipster culture) and how these are people who do not even acknowledge the candle in their heart.

Print shop fools: What can you REALLY do to burn your candle with the skills and resources you have?

P.S. I was the crazy, dark, little Irish printer who sat in my spot. KEEP AWAY!

Bethany said...

I agree with that the "Drinking" print is both hilarious and revolting.

His detail is really amazing and I love how he incorporates text into the plates. Not to mention how phenomenal his text looks. The video was way cool.

That is intense that the Great got to print some of Birk's work.

Keriann said...

I really like Birk's series "Leading cause of death in America" I think it's so true. His detail is wonderful too! I think that it gives a great perspective on things and think twice about the bad habits we may have.....

Mallory_Heesch said...

I really like that Jacques Callot used cross-hatching instead of aquatint in his prints. It reminds me so much of U.S. currencey bills, and how the illustrations used very fine lines closely put together. I've always found that intriguing...

britt luecke said...

Great detail...i agree that his series "Leading cause of death in America" is pretty awesome..once agian these prints send off such a powerful message!

Michelle said...

I was really impressed with Jacques Callot's prints....especially when you went to his site and the prints showed up larger...he uses so many small lines to create the images. The print about the hangings was especially disturbing to me.

mingo said...

i really like the past and present theme. it relates to the print im doing currently and it is cool to see how others portray it