Emily Arthur: Prints, Books, and Bronze Multiples | wisconsinacademy.org
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Emily Arthur: Prints, Books, and Bronze Multiples

This solo exhibition by artist Emily Arthur examines connections between seemingly unrelated events, past and present, to make visible the land as a living matter that holds a story. This selection of work, which includes artist’s books, original prints and small, cast bronze objects, reflects contemporary legal struggles to protect wildlife from land development and modern-day arguments to delist threatened bird species. These struggles echo of nineteenth-century Manifest Destiny whereby the forced removal of Indigenous peoples was carried out through government policies. Arthur writes, “I see nature as an interdependent living force, rather than as the backdrop for human events. Displacement, loss and a concern for the environment are a result of my personal experience. The Cherokee and European descent of my family offers a multilayered perspective embodied in my work.”

Printmaking is typically used to create multiple images, and historically these multiples have been used for both subjugation and as agents for change. Arthur’s printmaking practice, which encompasses etching, woodcut, monoprint, and screenprint, examines the complex relationship of people and the land, a dialogue that is fraught and that continues across generations. She often works with historians, ornithologists, mycologists, Indigenous scholars, and poets who integrate narratives between art, history, and natural science. Nancy Marie Mithlo, an Indigenous scholar of race and representation at The University of California, Los Angeles, writes in Visualizing Genocide: Indigenous Interventions in Art, Archives and Museums (forthcoming from The University of Arizona Press) that Arthur’s work “links land and people in an impulse that defines the hallmark of her artistic practice…Fragmented life histories are captured and lightly held for a moment, a firefly in Arthur’s cupped hands, for us to examine, to gaze upon, and to wonder anew at their very existence, given the impossible odds.”

They Still Lie for the Land, 2015. Screenprint on dyed paper, 20 x 16 inches.

Nowhere Left to Go (Water Birds), 2021. Color lithograph with chine collé on Somerset paper, 34 x 24 inches. Editioned by Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts.

Gnatcatchers and Sage with Tax Documents, 2017. Screenprint on glazed Rives paper and chine collé, 30 x 22 inches.

Only Tree, 2019. Unique screen print on glazed BFK paper, 40 x 50 inches.

Remember, Owl, 2021. Lithograph, 18 x 20 inches. Editioned by Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts

Carolina Parakeet (extinct 1918), 2019. Unique screenprint on BFK paper with shot, 15 x 11 inches.

Dark Bird with Moth, 2014. Etching on Gampi tissue attached to BFK paper, 20 x 16 inches

Final Determinations: Cherokee by Blood, 2017-2021, Vol. 1. Varied edition of 10 artist's books with 10 unique lost wax casts of birds. Ash wood, screenprint, procion dye, silk organza, and bronze. Dimensions variable.

Final Determinations: Cherokee by Blood, 2017-2021, Vol. 1. Varied edition of 10 artist's books with 10 unique lost wax casts of birds. Ash wood, screenprint, procion dye, silk organza, and bronze. Dimensions variable.

 

Contributors

Emily Arthur is a printmaker whose work has expanded into sculpture, installation, and sound, and often incorporates historical documents as a response to the relationship people have to loss, displacement, and land.

Jody Clowes has been director of the Academy's James Watrous Gallery since 2014. She is also the arts editor for Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine.

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Phone: 608.733.6633

 

James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25