this is not an original work of art
Etching, engraving, linocut, woodcut, and watercolor
18.5 x 12 in.
Through various forms of printmaking, this handmade piece copies and emulates artwork by past masters placing art history in conversation with current events. Through this process, the artist calls upon the theories of imitation, most notably the Platonic idea that art’s departure from the original is inherently immoral and deceptive. This deception transfers from the copied images to the headlines embossed in the paper. Each headline shows current examples of incongruity of the United States Government and the people they represent, in the realm of the environment and the pandemic. The reproduction of these headlines as soft impressions encompassing the entire piece identifies news stories as reproductions of the actual decisions being made, manipulated and separated from the original truth. The reproducibility of prints and the imitation of the content further designates the work as deceptive, separating each image from its original truth.
The various sources of the prints include the horse from Albrecht Durer’s woodcut Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, the snakes from Caravaggio’s Medusa, and the court scene from Jacques-Louis David’s Coronation of Napoleon. The context of the original informs the viewer that as the two snakes spring from Medusa’s head, the snake is biting its own self. The engraving, based on David’s painting, sees the most artistic liberty in style and with the addition of suits onto the figures at the coronation, redating one of history’s most known colonizers into a room of contemporary politicians. With every other print in the original’s direction, the reversed composition of the engraving references the work as a copy, admitting to its imitation. The hand painted with watercolor copies Raphael’s depiction of Plato in School of Athens. In the original painting, his hand points upwards toward the shadow of a higher and truer reality. While this image is copied in content, it is the only work not produced through a reproductive media, designating it as less deceptive under Plato’s theory and therefore an intermediary between the reproductive images and reality. This call to the higher truth asks the viewer to seek out this truth in our society and go beyond the deceptive imitation that the government releases to the public.