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transcending silence...
Spring 2009 Issue

Starvation Series

Verena Wendel

evidence of incapacity crestfallen don't hesitate feeling queasy longings
hiding a tragedy how much is too much? put your ethics to a test
scarcity silver lining someone has to pay the price
click thumbnails to enlarge

 

Sections

Artist Statement
Notes on Medium

Artist Statement:
Do we appreciate our possibilities or do we avoid/bypass them consciously? So many fight for that which others refuse. Self-starvation or starvation caused by limited resources? Gnawing, in search of self-discovery or social incline/downward slope? Which hardship/burden do I ask my body to withstand? Against how much do the human body and especially the immanent/inherent soul hold up? Appalling/alarming process. Visible signs: skin-covered bones, sallow, angular, crouching. Dizzy spells, hopelessness, despondency, exasperation, cry for help, resignation. A distorted mirror image.

The primary motivation for the starvation series was contrasting people – especially women and children – who suffer from a lack of nutrition and limited resources on the one hand and anorexia on the other hand. I was attempting to find answers to the question: To what extent can the human body withstand physical and health damages? My motivation was to capture the threatened bodies without judging the people themselves. I am not representing preciseness about the single images, nor the single reason for their alarming appearance.

Starvation is a recurrent problem throughout the globe – either caused by famine or the ideals of industrialized nations. In our society, which is dominated by imagery of really skinny female bodies (e.g. fashion models), women tend to have an unrealistic image of what is normal. What they consider to be the norm can often be regarded as anorexia. So by showing these images, I want to alarm the recipients: How do you deal with your own body? Are you already in the devil's circle of self-starvation? Do you treat your body right with healthy and sufficient nutrition? How do you observe the people in your environment? Do you think that you should be as skinny as they are? Or are you even courageous enough to help them if they have an eating disorder themselves?

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Description of the medium used for my art:
The Starvation Series consists of Lithographic prints, which were created with Pronto-Plates, instead of the traditional method on lithography stones. This revolutionary, non-toxic fine art printmaking method was developed by Prof. George Roberts of Boise State University. Using the Pronto-Plates is a more straightforward process than other conventional lithography processes as the plate does not require chemical processing in the form of etching. Consequently, there is no acid used which makes the process healthier for the artist herself and also environmentally friendly regarding sustainability.

Another advantage in comparison to other printmaking techniques is that this medium is capable of reproducing the full spectrum of lithographic marks. Marks such as hand crayon, pencil marks, brush strokes, ink wash and textures can be included in the process. Furthermore, this process allows digital imaging. Then the plates can be imaged directly with a laser printer. This is a great advantage for reproducing the original plates later on again and opens the whole spectrum of image processing programs such as Photoshop.

On the other hand, there are also limitations to this process. Regarding the constant quality of the prints, “scumming" might occur, then the Lithography Polyester Plates start picking up the ink in areas where it is not meant to be. Not only is the delicate chemical balance of the plate an important factor, but the consistency of the ink has a great influence on the result of the print as well. In addition to the usage of this medium in art, Pronto-Plates are also used in the offset printing industry.

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Edited by Christine Cretser and Anna Letko

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