This is the very best example of an artist using salt printing, that I've seen in the past year. An excellent melding of process with concept, and a wholly contemporary approach using historical processes, executed with excellence.
Arctic Elegy V, 2019
Salt Print overprinted with Gum Bichromate
19 × 19 in
48.3 × 48.3 cm
Edition of 3 + 2AP
Image: slightly cropped.
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DM Witman’s series—Arctic Elegy—pays tribute to the disappearing icebergs of the Arctic. The historical photographs of William H. Pierce are appropriated and reconstructed, by combining red gouache with salt printing. In her statement about the series, and indeed the title itself, she clearly points to the idea, not of icebergs in the process of disappearing, but perhaps already 'having been' i.e.—it’s already too late to halt their demise.
In this context, while the salt print is a nod to the historical component of the work, the use of the color red might be seen to perform as a visual signal of distress. The photographs are bold and graphic, reflecting a contemporary approach to 19th-century printing techniques.
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