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Bird of the Swamp by Janet Turner

Bird of the Swamp

Janet E. Turner

Bywaters Special Collections at Hamon Arts Library hold a collection of prints, etched plates, and linoleum blocks created by Janet E. Turner, who served on the art faculties of several universities in Texas and California. The artifacts selected for the Post Chiaroscuro: Prints in Color After the Renaissance exhibition that represent this work include a set of linocut impressions at different stages of completion and the linoleum blocks used to create them.

The third set of questions on the ARHS 3364 looking assignment pertains specifically to these pieces. Several display cases in the Post Chiaroscuro exhibition contain the impressions of the work and the matrices used to make them. Two nearby frames contain additional impressions.

Those using this website to view the meta-exhibition virtually can follow along using the images provided; click on an image to enlarge it.

Listen to the class discuss this work:

Looking Assignment

Question 3: Which impressions (1-9) used matrix A?

Bird of the Swamp

Matrix A

Bird of the Swamp
Impression 1
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 2
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 3
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 4
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 5
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 6
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 7
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 8
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 9

Answer: Matrix A contains a solid image of the Bird of the Swamp with some details in the feathers and in the background. It is important to note that the eye, beak and feet are not included in the matrix. It is evident that matrix A was the only matrix used to create impression 2. Matrix A was also inked in black to create impression 6, because the black bird has the same features of the matrix, albeit in reverse.
Madeline Ryder, Class of 2015

Question 4: Which impressions (1-9) used matrix D?

Bird of the Swamp

Matrix D

Bird of the Swamp
Impression 1
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 2
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 3
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 4
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 5
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 6
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 7
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 8
Bird of the Swamp
Impression 9

Answer: Matrix D was used in the creation of impressions 3, 4, 5, and 6. This matrix is the most detailed and spreads the color across the entire surface, excluding the detail of the feathers, branches, and ripples in the water. It was used to print the ecru color on both impressions 4 and 5. In addition, matrix D was used to create impressions 3 and 6, evidenced by the inclusion of the feet and the beak of the bird.
Lauren Murphy, Class of 2015

Question 5: With which matrices (A-E) was impression 3 made?

Answer: Impression 3 utilizes matrices B, C, D, and E. These matrices form a figure and background that is highly textured. For example, matrix B provides significant highlighting to the tops of the bird's wings; matrix C emphasizes the texture of the feathers and background forms; matrix D adds detail to the feathers, the form of a beak, and a spackled texture for the rocks in the foreground; and matrix C creates intense linear work most noticeably within the rocks and trees in the background. Within the bird figure itself, there are portions where the support shows through and there is significant highlighting. These highlighted portions, coupled with the fact that the bird is not completely "solid," exclude the use of matrix A.
Stephanie David, Class of 2014 .

Question 6: With which matrices (A-E) was impression 3 made?

Answer: Impression 6 utilizes matrices A, C, D, and E. The most noticeable characteristic of this impression is the solid form of the bird. It's solidity emphasizes the definitive use of matrix A. The flatness and lack of texture in the form of the bird exclude the use of matrix B. While matrix A produces the solid, flat form of the bird, matrix C contributes to the development of the background forms. Both matrices D and E provide texture to the forms in the foreground and the background. For example, matrix D possesses short cuts in the matrix that appear in the spackled texture of the rocks, while matrix E contributes writhing line to the natural elements. Stephanie Davis, Class of 2014

Question 7: Describe the differences between impressions 4 and 9.

Answer: The main differences between impressions 4 and 9 are the matrices used to create each impression. Impression 4 was created with matrices D, E, and C, while Impression 9 was created with just matrices C and E. The solid yellow color in the feet of the bird on impression 4 is a result of the use of matrix D. This solid yellow color is missing from impression 9. Impression 9 is also missing the yellow detail within the bird, evident in impression 4. This difference can also be attributed to the fact that matrix D was used to create impression 4, but not impression 9.
Madeline Ryder, Class of 2015

Question 8: How was the eye in impressions 7 and 9 printed in blue?

Answer:The blue eye on impressions 7 and 9 requires a specialized tool called a poupée. The poupée resembles a small stick with a gauze or cotton head that is inked and swabbed over a specific area of the matrix. In these impressions, the artist inked the poupée blue and swabbed only the eye of the bird.
Stephanie Davis, Class of 2014

Extra Credit: What are the shallow yellow blemishes on the surface of matrix B?

Answer: The yellow blemishes on the surface of matrix B are evidence of the improvement or restoration of the matrix. Relief printmakers fix matrices by filling subtracted spaces, either the result of error or damage, with corrective patches of moldable material.
Zewen Qu, Class of 2014

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