Elsi Vassdal Ellis – Without Consensus


© 2016

edition of 25

dimensions in inches: 5.625 x 4.38 x .38


About this piece:
It is easy to believe we live in a polarized era, one of black and white without the nuances of continuous tone gray values. The willingness to talk, to compromise, to come to a consensus outside one’s group, appears impossible today. A world of absolutes provides clarity in the division of labor, individual and communal expectations. Such clarity, however, may result in the undesired effect of removing people from a sense of connection with society and nation, and the world at large. Take the humble halftone. It is an optical illusion, a reproduction technique that simulates a continuous tone image through the use of dots of varying sizes. When viewed at the appropriate distance the print recreates the illusion of continuous tone while still existing in a reductive state of ink spot or no ink spot. This edition combines the halftone illusion with tit-for-tat “conversations” related to gender issues that in some cases may be challenging and absolute beliefs to change.

I am entering my final and 40th year of teaching at the university. My teaching responsibilities in print production have changed significantly over the years, going from process cameras making line and halftone film negatives to the Photoshop digital realm of scanners and resolution. As part of my teaching materials I saved printed halftones and once scanned, enlarged them to talk about conversion of continuous tone into dot or no dot and the differences between analog vs. digital dots. This book draws upon my collection of analog produced and printed halftone images that have been enlarged 600% or more to emphasize the “absolute” nature of the process as metaphor for the challenge of achieving consensus. If you stand back far enough continuous tone rather than black and white is achieved. The text is gender-based statements gleaned from This Week and New Scientist relating to tradition and myth, differences in opinions and experiences, all concerning men and women.
paper, archival inks
About the artist:

Lives and works in Bellingham, Washington, United States

Elsi Vassdal Ellis established EVE Press in 1983 with her first offset edition; letterpress in 1990; and digital in 1996. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is housed in many public and private collections. She has produced over 129 editions and 127 unique books. Her work is permanently housed in many public collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Grabhorn Collection-San Francisco Public Library, and Arts of the Book Collection in the Yale University Library.

About Alicia Bailey


Elsi Vassdal Ellis – Without Consensus

by Alicia Bailey time to read: 2 min