Kenyon College

The Vitreous Body


Artist: Kiki Smith
Title of Work: The Vitreous Body (2 editions)
Year: (2000) 2001
Plate Dimensions: 10 9/16″ x 8 9/16″
 Printed book
Photo Line: Graphicstudio, Univ.S. Florida
Collection Credit: Gift of John Gibson, Ltd., Published by Graphicstudio, University of South Florida Collection (Ed.36/120); Gift of Vevie Dimmitt, Published by Graphicstudio, University of South Florida Collection (Ed.42/120) 

“Vitreous Body (n): a transparent gelatinous substance, permeated by fine fibrils, that fills the interior of the eyeball between the lens and the retina” 

Smith utilized woodcut printing methods to create her book “The Vitreous Body.”  The illustrations are printed on transparent Japanese paper, mimicking the colors of vellum, a medium used in ancient books.  This transparency also allows the viewer to peer further through the book without having to turn the page.  The prints in the book focus on vision and eyes.  The translucency of the pages, the  text–written by the ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides of Elea–which references light and vision, and the anatomical images of eyes, all combine to emphasize the visual elements.  All of these elements can be viewed simultaneously, resulting in a multi-faceted form of art viewing.  

–Alea Abrams ’12, Gund Gallery Associate

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