Kathryn J. Reeves © 2005 (Session Chair)
Professor of Art
Department of Visual and Performing Arts
552 W. Wood Street
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Telephone: (765) 463-3971                                                  

Session: "Body Kontakt"

Paper:  “Body Contact: Sex, Reproduction and Prints”

Reproduction forms a conceptual point of contact between the sexual body and the print. Cultural and reproductive activity of all sorts revolves around this pivotal trope. Particularly in graphic language, covert reproductive subtexts and encrypted meanings related to gender and sexuality are present. The symbolic relationship between the print and the body (print - reproduction - sexuality) will be explored not only as a conceptual hybrid, but also as a linked set of ideas in actual social and cultural operation in the Western world. On a global scale, changing notions and practices in reproduction, limited reproduction, science, genetics, population growth, and birth control persistently reflect each other. Work concerning reproductivity will be considered from such diverse sources and disciplines as essays on overpopulation by T. Robert Malthus (circa 1800), Papal encyclicals, James McNeill Whistler's limited edition prints, Frankenstein's monster, A.R.T. (medical acronym for assisted reproductive technology), and contemporary graphic praxis. Using the figures of Godzilla and Sir Francis Seymour Haden of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers as starting points with a surprising commonality, and continuing with sexual notions encoded in the matrix, limited editions, and digital media, this paper will consider the intersection of creative and procreative human activity in an expanded field of practice and theory. Numerous points of contact in the parallel histories of reproductive art and human reproductive bodies show the relationship between social practice and artistic practice, and tell a compelling story of the essential metaphoric role that printmaking plays. The relationship between reproduction, the womb, art, technology and the body exists not only as an artifact but also as a powerful paradigm of our time.  

KATHRYN J. REEVES, Professor of Art, teaches theory and visual art at Purdue University in the United States. BFA, Miami University; MFA, Drake University; studies in drawing and printmaking, Harvard University. She also taught at Drake University and Iowa State University, and worked at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. Reeves has shown in numerous international, national, and regional exhibitions - including in 2005, group show in Auckland, New Zealand and solo show at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica, Venice, Italy. Public collections include: Library of Congress; University of West England’s Centre for Fine Print Research, Bristol, UK; Hewlett Packard, UK; Sheldon Swope Art Museum; Anderson Fine Arts Center; Stockton California Arts Commission; DePauw University; State of Iowa State Buildings Collection; Butler Museum of American Art; St. Cuthberts Mill, Inveresk Paper, Somerset, UK; Wabash College; and PSI Energy Foundation. Reeves' essays on theoretical models for understanding the print are published nationally and internationally, appearing in publications such as Contemporary Impressions: The Journal of the American Print Alliance; Relativities: 4th British International Miniature Print Exhibition catalogue, and Lessedra International Print Exhibition 2002 catalogue. She has lectured on traditional print, photo, and digital print media in the United States, UK, Finland, Italy and South Africa, and she formerly served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Visual Art Practice. Reeves has juried and curated numerous exhibitions. Recent projects include: “Contemporary Scottish Printmakers”, Purdue University Galleries; “Global Matrix: International Print Exhibition”, Purdue and Wright State University;  “23rd Annual Print Competition”, Alma College; “Exchange! A Selection of Exchange Portfolios of Contemporary Fine Arts Prints from Around the World”, Purdue Visual and Performing Arts Center Gallery; “Elements”, SOFA Gallery Indiana University, Bloomington; “2nd Loyola University Chicago Print Biennial”, Chicago; “Photography: A Moment in Time”, St. Louis Artist's Guild; and “Lessedra International Print Exhibition”, Sofia City Art Gallery, Bulgaria.