October 2023 - Beth Wittenberg
The Rochester Public Library is pleased to present the artwork of Beth Wittenberg during the month of October.
Beth Wittenberg is a local multi-media artist living and working on the NH Seacoast. Wittenberg was awarded a Printmaking Residency at The Art Center, in Dover NH in the Fall of 2021. "The only printmaking experience I had ever had was a 10th grade Printmaking class in HS". In November of 2021 Wittenberg began her love affair with the printmaking process. She continues to work 5 - 6 days a week in the studio. "I arrive early in the morning and am able to work uninterrupted for 4 hours or so". Wittenberg uses an exacto knife to cut stencils out of mylar. "I look forward to creating spontaneously - I don't plan the images - they come to me as I begin cutting a shape. I never know what is going to come forward. The process is often cathartic. Every day I print, I cut new stencils. My process is about the application of ink to the stencils and then I run the stencils through the printing press. I use a couple of stencils and I print the images over top of each other creating twins, shadows and ghost prints.
Wittenberg's recent work is from the series titled "Twins, Shadows, and Ghosts" and based loosely on the idea that printing multiple images of the same stencil, on one piece of paper, creates an image where there are twins present. "I have been working and looking at the twin flames relationship. The "twin flame" is the idea that there is a spiritual relationship between two souls that have separated in this existence. "I had met someone in the last year, who claimed to be my twin flame - the relationship was very tumultuous, and I have since moved away from this relationship, but the imprint is undeniable. I began creating images of twins.
Based on Joseph Campbell's archetypes, "The Shadow" is dark subject matter - and the beasts and birds are images I use to depict the darkness of the idea of a shadow. "The shadows are quite literal - I have used a process whereby I am creating multiple prints on one piece of paper and the picture plane is full of these shadows - I am creating a space for my creatures to dwell. They live in the shadows - the dark corners of existence - where they are not easily seen.
"Making ghost prints is also part of the process. I use leftover ink, after I make a print, to create ghost-like images that sit on the paper and are interwoven with the ideas of the twin flames and the shadow archetype. The ghost-like images remind me that the twin flame relationship I experienced left a deep impression - one where a ghost of the individual is in my mind-scape.