2017 Honorable Mention – Sarah Posner


This set of four linoleum block prints is inspired by fossilized trilobites. I have been fascinated by fossils, especially trilobites, for as long as I can remember.  Trilobites, now extinct, were marine arthropods. They roamed our oceans for hundreds of millions of years, beginning in the Early Cambrian period and ending in the Permian. Their exoskeletons were easily fossilized, which is part of why their fossils are so numerous and widespread. I’ve always been drawn to trilobites because of their tenacity—even after they went extinct—and because of their aesthetic appeal. They’re neatly and efficiently packaged in a rounded, oblong body, but intricately formed.

I’ve made this work as an exploration of my relationship to trilobites. Fossils in general remind me of printmaking; with a linoleum or a wood block, one has to carve into the surface to create one’s desired design. The final product is two-dimensional, but in order to get to the print, one has to give a flat thing—linoleum, wood, etc.—a third dimension. Fossils are similar; they’re an often slightly flattened record of something that once had a third dimension—life.

Both the fossil of the trilobite and the linoleum block I carved took time to be fully formed, but now both can serve as records of that process. Although each print came from the same block, each is slightly different, just as each fossilized trilobite is different from its relatives. My trilobite prints, while two-dimensional, can live on in the linoleum block I carved in order to make them. In a way, fossils are prints that time has made of past lives.