Two new exhibits have opened at Santa Clara University’s de Saisset Museum — “Unbound: The Art of Deterioration,” open until Dec. 6, and “Making an Impression: Printmaking Possibilities,” open until June 13, 2020.
“Making an Impression” depicts over 30 artworks where the art was designed on paper through assorted printmaking techniques. Included in this exhibit are Wayne Thiebaud’s “Sardines,” Pablo Picasso’s “Double Image” and Andy Warhol’s “Camouflage.”
In David Gilhooly’s “Food Descending the Staircase,” a chaotic cornucopia of food is falling down the stairs.
“David Gilhooly’s ‘Food Descending the Staircase’ is a parody of Marcel Duchamp’s painting ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2,’” said Lauren Baines, Assistant Director of the de Saisset Museum.
“In this play on words, he replaces the figurative movement down a staircase with a cascade of different foods, tumbling and falling upon one another as they ‘descend’ the staircase,” continued Baines. “Gilhooly, known for his humorous compositions in both ceramics and printmaking, often incorporated food and frogs into his works to create playful commentary on human nature.”
The 12 artists whose work is part of “Unbound” share insights about how books and the printed page convey content. Included here are Terri Garland’s archival pigment print of “Psalm 121:2,” which shows the remains of a Bible damaged by a New Orleans hurricane. Also here is Lori Zimmerman’s digital print on cotton with embroidery of “Mending, Roe v. Wade,” which shares the text from the first page of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe v. Wade.
Vita Wells’ “Believing Is Seeing” is a mixed media sculpture comprised of books, metal, lenses, coins and wood. The book titles include “Man Against Myth,” “For Men Only,” “Conquest by Man,” and “Great Men of Science” and hints at the artist’s perspective that the male narrative is valued more than the female narrative.
“In this particular work, Artist Vita Wells is addressing the publishing industry and, in general, the systems of power related to patriarchy that influence what ideas and information are given value in our society,” Baines said. “Through the medium of books, certain concepts and perspectives are distributed and upheld, while other ideas may never be published and thus not circulated. She talks about the pennies, the currency, as items that may not have inherent value but are given value as units of measurement that are set and agreed upon by society.
“The lenses, which we may relate to as a source of clarity, actually distort and flip our view in this case,” Baines continued. “They make it impossible for us to truly see the reality before us, which one might equate to the contents of the books not offering a full breadth of knowledge, perspective or voice. This work is a commentary on both the past and the present.”