The Brodsky Center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) presents new artwork by Nell Painter and Zoë Charlton.
“William Still Triptych” by Nell Painter, comprising three individual etchings, takes inspiration from Journal C of Station No. 2 of the Underground Railroad (1852–1857) accounting for enslaved persons who escaped the American South to Philadelphia, assisted by abolitionist William Still. The prints aim to convey the experience of a long transformative passage of self-emancipation, a journey that people undertook against all odds. Painter recreated Still’s handwritten entries to form the paths of a deep map that varies chromatically and emotionally across the triptych.
“struldbrugs” by Zoë Charlton, an edition of four unique variants, is a one-on-one scale photographic self-portrait of the artist watermarked into white handmade cotton paper. The artist towers above a colorful landscape in stenciled pulp paint, rendering Charlton’s grandmother’s estate in Tallahassee, Florida, now sold and lost to gentrification. One and the same as the cotton paper support itself, the figure becomes visible as light hits the surface, planted in the natural world that, growing up, centered her.
The Brodsky Center at PAFA, Philadelphia, is a residency program that empowers artists to engage with printmaking and papermaking as indispensable mediums for the expression of unique ideas. Artists are encouraged to explore, experiment, and extend boundaries by creating new work in collaboration with expert printers and papermakers. Since 1986, it has stimulated the creation to date of over 660 highly complex editions with 365 artists, including Lynda Benglis, Elizabeth Catlett, Liz Collins, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Barkley L. Hendricks, William Kentridge, Kiki Smith, and Pat Steir, among others.
The Brodsky Center at PAFA is open to the public during business hours by appointment. Information on available editions for sale can also be found at brodskycenter.org.