“Out of the Dark/Into the Water Plate 4” by Hannah Batsel
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- two sided offset print
- artist proof signed by artist
- plate from the "Out of the Dark/Into the Water" artist book
- size: 5.75" x 8.75"
Major: MFA Book and Paper Arts '16
My work concentrates on the human compulsion to collect, categorize, list, and document both the natural world and, as an extension, the worlds of other peoples and cultures. I draw from turn-of-the-century texts, illustrations, and scientific thought as aesthetically enrapturing but blatantly problematic records of this colonial impulse. By appropriating the era’s gaudy and crowded illustrative style, my work connects the naïve fairytale depiction of colonial adventures in far-off lands with more modern narratives and social systems.
Because storytelling is so important to how people contextualize, experience, and even lay claim to the world, my work takes the form of intrinsically narrative structures such as the artist book, the paper doll, and the interactive installation. Through meticulous craftsmanship in the depiction of lush environments, opulent aristocracy, and fantastic animals, these works seduce the viewer into enjoying and appreciating imagined worlds imbued with real ugliness. My role, in the end, is that of the storyteller: to entice and engage, but also to investigate real-world power dynamics through a more inviting, fictional lens.