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TO APRIL 2
In this age of mechanical reproduction, the idea of a singular work of art is becoming increasingly anachronistic. The very concept of an aura surrounding a unique original now seems almost quaint. Monoprinting bridges the old world and the new, allowing artists to create singular prints using repeatable images. The medium’s inherent dialectic makes it the perfect vehicle for Helga Thomson’s new series, “downloading.” Throughout the series, warm, “analog” images appropriated from classical Greco-Roman art break through—or, perhaps, are imposed upon—a cold, digital world of computer hardware, addressing the nature of the relationship between man and machine. (During my visit, the gallery played Kraftwerk as a soundtrack. Good choice.) Thomson asks questions about humanity and its digital environment, exploring the often paradoxical relationship between the two. “Downloads of images of pure feeling” contrast strikingly with Digital Age machinery in Behold the Man (pictured): A finely drawn, headless torso, an eye, and a heart are placed on a circuit-board background; the heart contains a dollop of red, providing a touch of color in this largely monochromatic world. Origins is equally provocative: The piece’s central image, looking very much like a stone rubbing, evokes both ancient tablets and contemporary computer hardware. Other prints are washed in organic tones, particularly piss yellow, again contrasting our basic humanity with the machines that threaten to rob us of our uniqueness. On view from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and noon to 9 p.m. Friday, to Sunday, April 2, at the Washington Printmakers Gallery, 1732 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 332-7757. (Mark W. Sullivan)