Dec 3, 2014


A Word Made Flesh



Part of a set. See all set records

Lesley Dill

(American, b. 1950)


Landfall Press

Photolithograph, etching, and aquatint, with spit bite, scraper, sandpaper, and drypoint, in black and blue

Support: Japanese paper (Mulberry paper, stained with tea) hand-sewn onto the wove paper (Arches)

Sheet: 74 x 54.6 cm (29 1/8 x 21 1/2 in.); Secondary Support: 76.2 x 57 cm (30 x 22 7/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1995.220.3

Impression: 4/25



The title of this suite comes from Emily Dickinson's poem "A Word made Flesh is seldom / And tremblingly partook..." Much of Lesley Dill's previous work took the form of objects---a dress, a suit, ears, eyes, and so on---made of paper that was inscribed with lines of Dickinson's poetry. Partially inspired by a trip to India, where Dill saw women who painted their hands and feet, this series marks a change in direction for the artist. She explained, "Initially, I'd thought of words like armor, but in the last couple of years they've been coming more and more literally into the body." For these works, Dill whitewashed the bodies of her models (all friends, assistants, or former students), painted phrases from Dickinson's poem directly on their flesh, and photographed them. She enhanced the images by combining photolithographs made from her own photographs with etched plates that extended the hair, increased the shading, etc. They were printed on Mulberry paper, stained with tea, and hand-sewn onto the backing sheets.

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