1863 by Dana Smith
click to view 1863 set #1 (.pdf 7.4mb)

1863 by Dana Smith
click to view 1863 set #2 (.pdf 8.4mb)

1863 by Dana Smith
click to view 1863 set #3 (.pdf 8.4mb)

1863 by Dana Smith
click to view 1863 set #4 (.pdf 7.1mb)

1863 by Dana Smith
click to view 1863 set #5 (.pdf 8.5mb)

1863 envelope by Dana Smith1863

by Dana Smith, 2021

A variable edition of sets of 5 silkscreen prints on Stonehenge paper, accompanied by 5 digital prints on Moab Entrada paper, 30x22 inches.
Edition of 45 portfolio sets, not numbered.

The result of a painter’s approach to silkscreen is a wildly variant edition - each print is really a unique monoprint. The process of printing used three layers or screens. The first layer of ink was applied using a painterly technique designed to create bands of color and random shapes that depict a horizon in time where memory appears and disappears, and where the ghosts of history sometimes reveal themselves or retreat in darkness. The second layer is a half-toned photographic image selected from the Library of Congress archive of Civil War photos. Each photo shows a moment in time from the year 1863, where the soldiers, the generals, the postal workers, the wounded, the gravediggers, all are making eye contact across the centuries. The third layer is handwriting selected from the letters of William Garret Fisher, written while fighting the American Civil War, and is applied in semi-transparent metallic ink to float above the image, shimmering in and out with the shift in angle of the viewer.

William Garret Fisher’s letters home while fighting the American Civil War are a collection of over 140 letters preserved by his family. Will Fisher joined the Union Army on September 30, 1861, as a bugler in Company A, 7th Regiment of New York Cavalry Volunteers also known as J. Morrison’s Black Horse Cavalry. When this Regiment was mustered out of service six months later on August 7, 1862, Will re-enlisted as an infantry private in the 123rd Regiment, New York Volunteers. He served with that Regiment throughout the remainder of the war. All of Will Fisher’s letters are archived at www.willfisher.org.

William Garret FisherWill Fisher’s letters were handed down to the artist from her great-great-grandfather through her mother, Judith Fuller Smith. Judith assisted her father, Pierpont Fuller in the tedious job of transcribing the original handwritten letters. Scanned images of the letters are seen on the right side of all the digital prints in the sets, with the transcribed text on the left.Here, to the right of this text, is a photo of William Garret Fisher, probably taken around the time that he dropped out of school to volunteer, with his mother’s permission, to fight for what he thought would be a short stint, but became a 5 year saga, as detailed in his letters home.So, it is clear that these primary source documents of Will’s eye-witness accounts of some of the most traumatic episodes in the history of the United States speak directly to the artist personally. It is her aim, and perhaps her ancestral responsibility, to re-construct and illustrate the troubled legacy of this epigenetic heritage.

To the left you can click to view a selection of the different sets in this variable edition in .pdf format.