Sunday, April 12, 2020

John 20.19-31: Proof

How do you know the current state of things? You ask for proof, right? The deposit has been made? Let me just check that. You've finished your homework? Let me take a look. It's cold enough for a sweater? I'll just step outside and see for myself. Thomas was no different. In fact, he might be excused for his desire for proof. You say Jesus, who died, came back to life and walked through a wall to get to the room where you were? Well, I'd like to see that for myself. (John 20:19-31) Sometimes you need to see for yourself how things are at the moment before you can move ahead.

Artists need that too, especially printmakers. While painters can step back from an easel and assess a painting in process, printmakers can't do that. The printmaker is developing the composition on some kind of plate (a slab of wood, a piece of linoleum, a metal plate). Once the plate is manipulated according to the artist's plan, ink is applied to the plate and the inked plate is pressed to paper. The paper is lifted from the plate to reveal a mirror image of the plate. So printmakers may pull a print while still in the development process to see the current state of the print and what it will look like on paper.

All photos from the Kirkland's Museum's online exhibit Process and Print, part of the museum's March 2020 Month of Printmaking. 
Those prints are called working proofs. They help a printmaker see the picture as it will be. It allows the printmaker to adjust, change things, modify elements and move ahead with the best possible information Perhaps this episode in John's gospel is Thomas' working proof. It's a chance to see in reality something that he has been working on in mirror image. It's a chance to move ahead having seen the end result.

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