We’re celebrating Noah Webster’s 260th birthday with an exhibit that utilizes his favorite thing: the dictionary!
“It Started with Aardvark”, a series of 26 screen prints by artist Elizabeth Dove, will be on exhibit at the museum from October 17 through December 2018. The exhibit officially opens the night of Tuesday, October 16, which just happens to coincide with Webster’s birthday. We’ll be celebrating at 6:30 p.m. with a cake by West Hartford’s own A Little Imagination Cakes!
It Started with Aardvark is a series of twenty-six screenprints, one for each letter of the alphabet. It includes every illustration from Webster’s 3rd International dictionary, with these images organized by letter. These screenprints do not portray the 3,100 dictionary illustrations as separate images as they are in the dictionary volume, but instead, overlap them in successive layers printed one on top of another so that they co-exist as one merged graphic icon, a hybrid of all visual knowledge. Because they were printed by hand and because the images were layered one after another, the surface of the print retains the individual outlines of each illustration like a sedimentary deposit. On average, each print has more than 100 layers, with letter S having the most with 392 illustrations and letter X having just 2.
It Started with Aardvark is a project is about the search for meaning. This series of prints shows what the accumulation of knowledge and the ideal of complete understanding can look like within this search for meaning, and how a viewer deciphers and makes sense of visual information in our image-saturated contemporary world.
About the artist: Originally from Baltimore, Elizabeth Dove lives in Missoula, Montana where she is a Professor teaching printmaking, photography and design at the University of Montana. Dove shows internationally, has conducted research into less–toxic printmaking processes, and taught dozens of workshops on these processes at colleges and universities. Her artwork explores the ambiguous relationship between words and images as sources of meaning, and often integrates autobiographical elements. Dove’s themes include the insufficiency of language to communicate personal experiences, retain memory, or express grief, joy or mystery.
Dove is profiled in Contemporary American Printmakers, Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes, and Non-Toxic Printmaking, and she wrote a chapters for both Non-Toxic Printmaking, and The Contemporary Printmaker. Elizabeth received her BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and MFA from Vermont College.
For more about Elizabeth Dove’s work, visit her website: https://www.elizabethdove.com/