Jessica adds hand-drawn details into her prints. Photo by Jeremy Dennis.

Six Legs, drypoint print. Photo courtesy of the artist

Jessica Gengenbach (Austin, TX) focused her time at North Mountain producing prints in the downstairs studio. She started with a drawing, then cut it up, rearranged it, and glued it back together. Next she scanned it, flipped and scaled it in a photo editing software. She transferred it to a copper plate with carbon paper, and started to make marks on the surface with sandpaper and a pointed tool called a scribe. This technique is called drypoint, and unlike other intaglio processes such as etching, it creates an image that degrades under pressure from the press. This process encourages variation, making subtle changes to the image each time Jessica prints it. The print’s subject is a small figure sitting side-saddle on a billowing horse-like body. Though atop one another, the two figures belong to different worlds — the small character looks off frame morosely while the horse charges into a pair of legs, into a chess piece, then into two arrows encircled by a snake.

Jessica’s works tells pictorial allegories of the old West. Her characters are haunted by American promises of freedom; they dramatize her timeless landscapes with their suffering. Developing a brick pattern by burnishing a large plate with steel wool, Jessica produced a landscape element to use again and again in different compositions. “I’m striving towards the most economical descriptions of landscape in these compositions.” She imagines collaging this pattern into multiple scenes for future dramas.

After leaving North Mountain, Jessica will attend Art Farm Nebraska where she will develop her prints into paintings and collages. See more of Jessica’s past work and on-going projects at https://jgengenbachart.com.