Professor of the Practice Emeritus of Art, Art History and Visual Studies
M.F.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison 1981
Merrill Shatzman received her B.F.A. degree from the Rhode Island School of Design and M.A. and M.F.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work as an abstract printmaker includes images in relief, silkscreen, lithography, bookmaking and digital media. Over the past fifteen years her prints have been exhibited in ninety solo, invitational, group and juried shows throughout the United States and internationally, including a solo exhibitions at the Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University (April 2009), Roanoke College (2008). Shatzman's award winning prints are found in numerous museum and corporate collections in the United States including: the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Boston Public Library, The Fogg Museum, UCLA's Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Mint Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Art, California State University Long Beach, Museum of Art, Texas Tech University, National Museum of American Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. Her abundantly detailed woodcuts explore the "universal language" created by signs, writing systems, symbols and pre-imagined images (such as maps, charts, photographs, texts and written language). Inspired by her passion for written forms from multiple cultures, including Middle Eastern, Far Eastern and Mesoamerican, her black-and-white relief images are rich with calligraphic marks, camouflage, patterning and symbols, which allude to signs and letters, condensed and illegible. Her symbolic interpretations of the visual letterforms respond to the rich cultural history of the civilizations from which they are inspired, contemplating ideas of relics and interweaving the domains of philosophy, religion, mysticism, linguistics and humanistic inquiry. Her most recent prints combine digital imaging and silkscreen printing, uniquely highlighting the similarities between these different media through her abstract, highly patterned written forms.
ExpertisePrintmaking, book art, typography, drawing, graphic design, digital imaging, infographics, mapping, calligraphy
Inspired by my interest in the decoration and patterning surrounding written forms (Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Japanese prints, Persian paintings) mapping and signage, these complex and highly detailed silkscreen prints exclusively use digital tec
Expanding upon my different letter forms this series of prints explores the same compositional format throughout the series, with different marks and patternings differentiating the images from one another.
Through my passion for writing systems and ancient scripts I created a body of prints focusing on semi-readable, abstracted symbolic and undecipherable letter forms that reveal a matrix of patterns, words and hidden messages. In my Letter Recognition ser
Capitalizing on my working practice of recycling, dissecting, reworking and layering my working drawings, I have reconfigured earlier prints resulting in the Mayaglyph series. Inspired by Mayan hieroglyphic writing, the structure of each image mimics the
This series of woodblock prints fuses signage, symbols and written forms. Through the use of my unique language/text and pictograms, these prints investigate different structural divisions and matrices that define my compositional space revealing a synth