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The First Time, The Heart (First Pulse, Flatline), 2017

About the artist

Dario Robleto is an internationally exhibited artist whose transdisciplinary explorations have led to collaborations with specialists in myriad fields, including artificial heart researchers, neuroscientists, glaciologists, and astronomers involved with the search for life in the Universe. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Robleto received his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1997 and lives and works in Houston. The artist has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, most recently at the Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2014) and the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014). Recent notable group shows include Prospect 4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp, New Orleans, LA (2017), Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY (2017), Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2016). A visiting artist and lecturer at many universities around the country, Robleto was recently appointed as Artist-at-large at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. In 2015 he joined a distinguished team of scientists as the artistic consultant to the “Breakthrough Initiatives”—the most comprehensive search ever attempted at finding scientific evidence of life in the Universe. He is currently serving as an Artist-in-Residence in Neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering and at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA. (from 2018)

The First Time, The Heart (First Pulse, Flatline) is a special print edition that is part of a larger project by Dario Robleto titled, The First Time, The Heart: A Portrait of Life, 1854-1913, a set of 50 prints housed in a clamshell portfolio box, also published by Island Press.

To honor the original method of recording the human heart beat used by 19th century physiologists—mark making in soot—Robleto, working with Island Press, devised a novel printing method merging lithography with hand-flamed and sooted paper. A high-resolution scan was taken of the original, historic pulse lines, which were printed lithographically in transparent ink. The paper was then hand-flamed, depositing an atmospheric layer of soot over the image area. After the paper was briefly submerged in a bath of shellac and denatured alcohol to fix the soot to the paper, lithotine (a purified, petroleum-based solvent) was applied to the printed lines and text with a brush to gently lift the image from the soot ground, revealing the white lines.

Lithography on hand-flamed and sooted paper, lithotine lift and shellac on rising drawing bristol,

Diptych, each 11 ½" x 14 ¼"

Edition of 20

Other works by Dario Robleto