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Center Before Outside (24)

Center Before Outside (24)

Elizabeth Atterbury
Center Before Outside (24), 2019
Chine collé and embossing with plates hand cut by the artist
30 x 22.5 inches

Not currently on view

About the Work

Elizabeth Atterbury’s works on view come from a larger portfolio of monotypes for which the artist developed a customized and unconventional use of the intaglio process and colorful arrangements of chine collé* cut-outs. Drawing from memories, genealogy, and the day-to-day, the artist creates symbols and characters, forming her own pseudo- calligraphy practice that is both deeply personal and relatable. A red bounding box is appropriated from Chinese calligraphy practice books, a long upside down “U” embodies the hair of two close relatives, the shape of the tab that tears off the top of Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags is what it is—and something that holds great significance for the artist and many working mothers. The top left block, which looks like two capital E’s back-to-back, is the Chinese symbol for Wang, which means King. The title for one of the works, Center Before Outside, is borrowed from instructions on stroke order when writing Chinese characters. Atterbury says of the title, “I chose ‘Center Before Outside’ as a title… because it is simultaneously literal and poetic, two qualities I think I am always striving for in my work.”

* Chine collé is a technique, used in conjunction with printmaking processes such as etching or lithography, that results in a two- layered paper artwork: a tissue-thin paper, cut to the size of the printing plate, and a larger, thicker support paper below. The two papers are placed on top of an inked plate and run together through a printing press, sometimes with a thin layer of adhesive between them to reinforce the bond produced through the pressure of the press. The result is a subtle, delicate backdrop to the cut-out papers. Chine is the French word for China, referring to the fact that the thin paper originally used with this technique was imported from China. In addition to China, paper was also imported from India or Japan. Collé is the French word for “glued.”