Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Blue Dust
  • Jane Leone Dickson
    born 1952
    active: United States
  • Blue Dust, 1988
  • Where object was made: United States
  • carborundum etching
  • Paper Type: wove
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 300 x 600 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 414 x 699 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 11 3/4 x 23 5/8 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 16 1/4 x 27 1/2 in
    Mat Dimensions: 24 x 32 in
  • Museum purchase: National Endowment for the Arts and the Barbara Benton Wescoe Fund
  • Not on display
  • 1989.0012

Several automobiles appear in a "blue dust"; bright lights come from the background.

Dickson, an artist concerned with the "ominous underside of contemporary culture," has recently become fascinated with the demolition derby, an event she terms "American bullfight." Dickson finds these spectacles compelling because of their senseless desctruction in pursuit of entertainment. In Blue Dust the artist employs a carborundum etching technique to recreate the tough, gritty texture of dust and fumes generated by the vehicles action. In this intaglio process, carborundum, a solid or powered abrasive, is sprinkled onto wet surface areas of an acrylic medium. This provides an aquatint-like surface, adding considerable variations in tonal values. While still wet, the carborundum can be scraped or its shape altered by moving it about with a piece of cardboard. The carborundum is then covered with a thin coat of acrylic to ensure that the particles do not break loose in wiping and printing.