Keith Dull exhibits "Dead Ends & Domestic Talismans" at Willamette

by University Communications,

Describing the exhibition as “deep, fascinating and complex,” Keith Dull is displaying an array of his art prints at Willamette University through Dec. 13.

Titled, “Dead Ends & Domestic Talismans,” the exhibition is on display in the Rogers W. Rogers Galley of the Rogers Music Center.

“Dull’s work definitely rewards those who take the time to look and think deeper,” says gallery curator Andries Fourie, who once worked with Dull at Ashland University in Ohio. Fourie says Dull uses unique techniques to convey meaning in interesting and obscure ways.

While the Hallie Ford Museum of Art usually focuses on Northwest and local art, Fourie says the Rogers Gallery offers a broader geographic range — bringing in artists from around the country.

Still working at Ashland University, Dull teaches printmaking, drawing and two-dimensional design. While Dull uses a wide variety of techniques, he also developed the Encaustic Intaglio printing process in 1998. Through the method, pigment is mixed with hot wax while an image is incised, or cut, into a surface.

In a recent interview, Dull explained the inspiration behind his work and his hopes for the new exhibition at Willamette:

Q: How long have you been doing this style of art? Why do you like it?

I’ve been actively printing since 1989. I was immediately hooked on the printmaking process. I love the ritual inherent in scratching, etching, carving and scraping into wood and copper. I can print multiple images, with fascinating textures and line quality. What’s not to like?

Q: Were you excited to do the exhibition?

Yes, and the biggest reason is the opportunity to have many years worth of my work displayed in a single space. When multiple bodies of work are shown together, the viewer can gain an even greater insight into the artist’s message. As artists, we can submerge ourselves in our latest body of work, and by looking at our own art in a larger context, we can reveal or inspire new directions in our work.

Q: Can you expand on the meaning and background of the collection?

The figures represent various forms of unproductive relationships. The most obvious example is found in the Boogie series.

The series was created in the aftermath of an ugly divorce, when I found myself thrust into a comically disturbing world of online dating. The puzzle pieces were designed to look as though they could easily be assembled, but I deliberately made sure they never could be. The chessboards are all laid-out in a stalemate scenario, and in some prints there are images of unsolvable puzzles, problems and rattraps. I felt all these symbols accurately described my feelings in trying to rebuild my life.

Q: Why is this exhibition important to you and why do you think it's important that Willamette students are exposed to it?

As a teacher, I always prefer exhibiting in venues where I can reach art students. It is unlikely students from Willamette will ever check out the art scene in small town Ohio, and this is an opportunity for students to see a different approach to art making. With any luck, they will relate to it in some way, and it will inform new possibilities in their work.

• Article by Natalie Pate '15, politics major