Kenyon College

Falcon, Ginzer, Bird Skeleton, and Fawn


Artist: Kiki Smith
Title of Work: Ginzer
Year: 2000
Plate Dimensions: 18″ x 24″
Sheet Dimensions: 22 1/2″ x 31″
Aquatint and etching on paper
Photo Line: Courtesy of Harlan & Weaver
Collection Credit: Courtesy of Harlan & Weaver

Part of a series published by Harlan and Weaver, these aquatint and etched prints deal with animals.  Smith utilizes a complicated and laborious process to print these images.  First, she etches designs on plates and then reworks the images with more detail, adding multiple layers of lines.  This tactic gives the images depth, resulting in prints which are both delicate and forceful.  This technique is especially effective in the accurate rendering of the animals’ hair texture.  The subjects in these prints float in the white of the paper, resulting in an unsettling image, especially considering the fact that three were based on dead animals.  After Smith’s cat Ginzer died, she brought the body into her studio to trace it.  Whenever this art is shown in galleries, Smith gives specific instructions to always display Ginzer next to the Bird Skeleton.  Ginzer is much bigger and darker than the bird, and the cat looks as if it is staring at its prey through the frames.  Even in their death, the animals are pitted against each other, resulting in a violent dynamic between the works of art.  Falcon was inspired by a taxidermic bird and it is the most abstracted of the prints.  The fine details on each of the feathers inform the viewer of its avian elements, but the shape more closely resembles a sea creature.  This forces the viewer to question the realism of the animals.  Fawn is the most innocent of the images; the deer looks calm and serene as it lies on the page.  However, it is displayed with numerous dead animals, giving a sense of foreboding danger.  The images are both intimately detailed and incredibly morbid, resulting in a series of work that is highly  dynamic.
–Alea Abrams ’12, Gund Gallery Associate
Falcon, Ginzer, Bird Skeleton, and Fawn
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