The Nature of the Beast

2019
Collaborating Master Print: Peter Haarz
Five-color plate lithographs on Somerset Satin White paper
17 x 20 in (each)
Published by the Brodsky Center at PAFA, Philadelphia.

The Nature of the Beast is a series of five lithographs based on five video frames extracted from a sixteen-minute-long video, Fingernails on a Blackboard: Bella.

I am not an artist who works regularly with printmaking. This series was produced through a residency at the Brodsky Center and was developed in dialogue with two master printers: Randy Hemminghaus and Peter Haarz. When Paola Morsiani at the Brodsky Center invited to work on an edition, I was interested in working with the material from an existing video, Fingernails on a Blackboard: Bella, and in exploring the capacity of the litho plate to hold a still, to refuse duration or the passing of a time. I was intrigued by what it would mean for the dialogue between the voice coach and Bella Abzug. In the print series, I go into the dialogue extract moments of speech and change their meaning. In The Nature of the Beast the question of what or who is the beast can take flight. The five utterances or resoundings come out of but also depart from Bella Abzug, they move to questions around political voice, the articulation of politics, the specific-gendered conundrum of speaking in and through politics.

Here text is unleashed from voice. By “unleash” I mean to give space to the words, thoughts, and ideas, to let them become material again, to release them to new relationships. The tongue and the utterance; the pussycat and the beast; kitty, kitty, kitty and more. I want to allow the words to find life, force, potency, power and ferocity again.