December 2–26, 2015, the Washington Printmakers Gallery hosted Humanograpy by Matina Marki Tillman, an exhibition of hand-pulled solarplate etchings that preserve the fine line art and the chiaroscuro nature of traditional drawings.
Humanography unfolds as an intimate journey within the human condition put together in a way that encourages the viewer to make some stops to contemplate, and possibly become more conscious. This is delicately accomplished through the grouping of Tillman’s etchings into smaller collections which suggest the artist’s ongoing or completed series. Together with the natural flow of the exhibition, one can also find small displays that explain the artist’s technique of directly etching her charcoal drawings onto solarplates, as well as the “threads and inspirations” notes that highlight the connection of her work with music, poetry, and the performing arts.
In the first stop, the viewer encounters a group of etchings that include pieces from objects and subjects, in the artist’s words “a study of people that empower ordinary objects to define them” (i.e., Lullaby; Absences). A second stop is in front of the arrangement of the three miniature Music Listeners from the series Art Givers and Receivers, where art is being observed from both sides. A third stop brings the viewer to some of Tillman’s newest etchings, described by her as “depictions of humans countering the immobility of the statue with a slight shift of their position” (you’re so different; Performance in an ordinary shirt I-III). The exhibition concludes with an assemblage of etchings that carry Humanograpy’s recurring theme: the depiction of the human and the human condition by angels / messengers, or by icons that “surpass their own symbolism in order to define and reclaim their humanity” (Depicta; Humanography 1).
Humanography takes the viewer beyond a series of portraits and human figures to an exploration of mood and state of mind. And it does this by capturing what the artist considers “…essential to draw and print: the expression that helps draw attention to the human condition, and the inner rhythm that holds together the chaotic elements that make up the human.”
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