Warrington Colescott

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Warrington Colescott’s Sunday Service (2001) was included in the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Portfolio. Chazen Museum Of Art

“If death and eternal judgment can be comedy,” Warrington Colescott once said, “then nothing is beyond the comic imagination.” The pioneering printmaker and longtime UW art professor, who died in September 2018 at age 97, proved that statement true many times over. His satirical etchings earned national acclaim for their biting wit — ranging from critiques of society and politics to the purely playful and absurd. Themes of warfare permeated his works, a reflection of his upbringing as a son of a World War I soldier and his own army service in World War II. While his irreverence often reigned — “If you attack, do it with skill,” he advised — his narrative works could be deeply human and hopeful. “The terrain that really grips me,” he said, “is that black zone between tragedy and high comedy, where, with a little push one way or the other, you can transmute screams into laughter and where the rules are no rules.”

Published in the Spring 2019 issue

Tags: Arts, comedy, Teaching and learning

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