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Wendy Ketchum: Printmaking allows for endless possibilities of mark-making, textural elements, and “happy accidents” that often result from the unpredictable nature of the process. Instead of creating color woodcuts in a traditional edition, I have developed a more intuitive method of working an image through layering – of color, form, plate, and technique – to produce one-of-a-kind prints without a preconceived plan. The final image gradually evolves after multiple runs through the press.
The "telling stories" print series began with an investigation of my Scandinavian roots. In researching ancient Swedish history, I was drawn immediately to the fascinating images that were carved into rock faces during the Bronze Age. Our need to record or map our environments is a uniquely human trait. Before the age of literacy, ancient peoples were creating pictorial narratives that described how they related to their environment – including images of exploration, migration, hunting/gathering, early agriculture, celestial observations, and religious rituals.
Expanding upon this story telling theme, I produced another series called "traces," which documents artifacts found on my daily walks and while digging in the gardens of the old New England farmstead where I live. Through serendipitous archaeology, I have discovered everything from decorative pottery shards to old bottles to rusty nails to abandoned farm tools. An original one room schoolhouse on our property conjures up ghosts from the past. Stone walls and cellar holes, the largest surviving artifacts, are a testament to forebears who worked by hand and animal power to transform forest and rocky soil into productive farmland and sheltering homesites.
In my work I am exploring themes of light, pattern, and mystery. Working with successive veils of layered images, I hope to create a complex visual history for the viewer.