Talking to a colleague about the Dix exhibit has me thinking more about the medium of etching being ideal for the series on war. The process of etching utilizes an acid bath to create lines. The longer the plate sits in the bath, the darker the lines will appear when printed. The war series that Dix created depicts the corrosive and harsh effects that chemical warfare, used for the first time in this particularly devastating war, had on the people involved. So, as both a process, and for this subject matter, the medium was an ideal choice.
To further clarify what I stated in my last posting, the painting does not deliver the same sense of ‘eating away’. It relies predominantly on the actual visages and bodies depicted to convey the corruption of society, and the individual within a corrupt society. There is almost no sensuous quality to be found in the paint itself. Oil paint is a sensuous, almost voluptuous medium. Dix shies away from these inherent qualities, and his paintings suffer for it. They leave the viewer cold, while the etchings and drawings do not.