Hunting Memories, the random print this week, is by Brian Paulsen, a member of the AP/RC.
Paulsen’s image started as a drawing based on photographic sources. He then painted the image in watercolor, photographed the watercolor, printed it in black and white, and created a contour drawing from the black and white photograph. He placed an acrylic matrix over the contour drawing and meticulously engraved it using dental tools. The time between a painting and a print varies, in this case two years.
As mentioned in the book, Brian Paulsen (North Dakota Museum of Art 2008), Paulsen composes each work through a collage process, piecing images together from multiple sources. He notes that this is how he views memory, as fragmented puzzle pieces creating tableaus from many experiences. His engraving is not a reproduction of a painting, but another iteration, a version of the same story retold in ink lines and the emptiness of white
paper. The recreation of Paulsen’s image from one media to another is like remembering. There are subtle differences, color disappears, complex drawing becomes simplified contours, landmarks of shadow and value are highlighted in red pencil, the image is reassessed under an acrylic sheet that slightly warps the image, and details are painstakingly brought into focus with the sharp tip of a dental tool. The composition and the narrative seem similar from one medium to the next, but these differences shift nuances of its meanings.
Many printmakers use word play in their titles, and Paulsen is also skilled at this. Does one remember hunting or hunt for memory or hunt for memories of hunting? Is this deer in a shirt and tie a self-portrait, an analog for the self, or biting satire about the “self”? And is it just me or is it laughing riotously?