Warrington Colescott: Attack Artist

Apr 11, 2024 — Jun 23, 2024
Secchia Upper Lobby Gallery

Etching quickens the blood, lights up the eye, affects the satirical mind in the same way that a low-cut neckline affects Dracula.”

–Warrington Colescott

Warrington Colescott (American, 1921 – 2018) once described himself as a research printmaker and mad-dog attack artist.” And so he was – an exceptionally learned maker, whose images are as mesmerizing as they are cutting. The craftsmanship of these prints, taken primarily from GRAM’s collection, depict sprawling tableaux of what Colescott believed were societal ills. In the vein of other satirical artists before him, such as Francisco Goya, Honoré Daumier, and William Hogarth, Colescott takes unflinching aim at the mechanisms of war, civil rights injustices, and violence writ large. While his chosen subject matter is frequently grim, his approach is equally humorous and horrific, beautiful and crude. 

A Californian by birth, Colescott served in Okinawa in World War II and in Korea during the postwar occupation. Upon his return, he earned his MFA from the University of California, Berkley, and spent the rest of his life teaching painting and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.