Emma Reiter BFA Printmaking Thesis Spring 2021

Reflective Relief

Reflective Relief is a handmade, handbound book containing seven woodcuts of endangered mammals of the Pacific Northwest, as well as nine letterpress printed reflections. Within the reflections I contemplate grief, mortality, reciprocity with the land, and ecological devastation. The book is delicate and soft. Fragile in a way that I never anticipated. The woodcuts themselves contain lively landscapes that surround each animal. They do not display degradation. They are never explicitly marked as at risk. The reflections themselves are printed on a slightly transparent mulberry paper that lays over each woodcut. A slight shadow of the image can be seen through the reflection. Although all these mammals are endangered in some capacity, and in many ways symbolize loss, they provided me with hope. Each has become a symbol of grief, as well as action.

Through this work I have explored my personal experiences with grief. My intention for this book shifted and evolved. I needed to embrace the vulnerability of using my own perspective and my own language. My intention became one of personal reflection and healing through the printmaking process. My hope for those who do encounter this work is to contemplate. I hope that they can find comfort in the words and that it encourages the viewer to reflect on their own experiences of loss, as well as their own relationship with this landscape. Grief is impending. Loss is inevitable. Although we all have different experiences within this reality we share these inevitables. Through my interpretation of these concepts and creatures I hope that people can reflect inward and lament as I have.

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