The Skeptic, The Prophet, and the Hyperreal, Relief, 2018
Tweet, Tweet, Boom, Metal Engraving and Watercolor, 2018
Faith from Fable, Metal Engraving, 2018
Watch Your Mouth, Metal Engraving, 2018
As a part of my morning ritual of consuming yogurt and coffee, I browse through various news sources and read through my social media feed. I can learn about how the universe is crumbling and then see breaking news about Kylie Jenner eating at a pizza shop. I am given reminders of what makes me less of a person in the material objects I don’t possess. I see attention as the great opiate of a culture. I can find links to five to ten reasons why anything happens. As I take in this information, I know that I am being watched. Growing up in a Christian environment, it used to be God that watched, now it is the National Security Agency. I see us complaining about the way things are as we simultaneously enable it.
My work is a reaction to the consequences of the internet and technology. Information I am exposed to makes marks on my psyche that result in words or pictures within my journal that marinate for weeks or months. I decontextualize and reconstruct these ideas in a collage of pessimistic observations. These narratives evolve as I work. My subjects become visualizations of fear and apathy; a retort to an alarmist media and reactionary culture. Printmaking and drawing are my means of funneling these ideas through traditional artistic expression.
James Ehlers earned his MFA from the University of Florida and is currently the Don and Mary Glaser Distinguished Professor of Engraving Arts at Emporia State University in Kansas — the only school in the nation to offer a BFA in Engraving Arts. Since 2007, he has given numerous engraving workshops at various events including the Frogman’s Printmaking Workshop (South Dakota), IMPACT Printmaking Conferences (Dundee, Scotland and Bristol, England), MAPC (Minnesota), and universities around the country. He has participated in group exhibitions in Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Norway, Romania, The Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, and across the United States.