BRETT COLLEY - Artist/Curator/Educator
Apocalyptic Apparition 1
1998
Multi-block relief prints behind thrift store frames
80 x 30 inches
I most commonly refer to this series of prints as the Apocalyptic Apparitions.

The compositions were designed to read from a short distance as twisting, skeletal figures, each a crooked “genie” freed from its respective vessel – an oil drum, a test tube, the stump of a freshly-cut tree.

Upon closer examination, their swirling forms are comprised of dozens of smaller, intersecting images: broken dolls, buffalo, lawnmowers, laboratory mice.

A single Apparition is composed of more than a hundred smaller images, each carved separately from linoleum or wood and printed one by one, using a wooden spoon to apply pressure to the inked block from the reverse side of the print paper. The paper itself, Kozo, is manufactured in Japan from mulberry fibers. The sheets are lightweight but very strong.

The imagery is inspired by topical stories, news and events that have resonated with me after reading the paper, listening to the radio, or watching television. There are passages within the Apparitions that refer to the effects of media violence on children, our dependence on fossil fuels, the genetic modification of crops, cloning, clear-cutting, etc.

A small number of the Apparition figures contain imagery all relating to a single, central theme – environmental destruction or bioengineering – but most are composites.

I produced these images in order to ask myself questions, to allow myself the time to consider the complexities of my subjects. In short, I learn through this work, by examining each issue more closely, more critically.

Ideally, viewers of these prints will be incited to consider the meaning of the imagery, the role that art continues to play in our culture, and to reflect upon the source and depth of their own understanding of the world.