In 2008, Jesse Shaw studied José Clemente Orozco’s monumental mural The Epic of American Civilization at Dartmouth College. He was struck by the power of the work and was inspired to begin his own interpretation of the American story. Technology, American rituals, consumerism, allegory, printmaking, history, and religion are some of the topics Shaw articulates in his series, American Epic. The content of each print is both self-contained and part of a broader context within the entire body of work. Shaw has been laboring on the American Epic print series for ten years, and at this time, 28 of the planned 50 hand-pulled linocut prints have been completed.
Shaw is a printmaker from Tennessee working primarily in relief prints carved from linoleum blocks. His work is based in the narrative, satirical, political, and social commentary tradition of the graphic print. His interest in Orozco’s work led him to Mexico to study the works of other Mexican muralists including Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Mexican printmaking. The intensity and sincerity in the murals, along with the history of the political and social purpose of printmaking in Mexico, inform his printmaking work. Shaw earned an MFA in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design.
Image: Jesse Shaw, American Animals II, 2013, linocut, 36" x 24"
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