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Kathryn Farley, Generative Systems


In 1971, Sheridan was invited to become the first Artist-in-Residence at 3M’s Color Research Laboratory, where she worked with Dr. Douglas Dybvig, inventor of the Color-in-Color photocopier, and other members of the lab who had contributed to the development of the machine. (1) During her residency, she produced many series of prints that drew inspiration from a wide array of subjects, ranging from self-portraiture to images of nature. To vary the colour content and texture of a single print, Sheridan tested different types of dyes and paper sources.

In 1976, Sheridan was awarded a Public Media grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, allowing her return to 3M and take up residency at the Central Research Laboratory. The opportunity expanded upon her interest in photocopy imaging systems and resulted in sophisticated depictions of natural phenomena. As art historian Diane Kirkpatrick has observed, “The Color-in-Color I works that Sheridan produced during this stay are some of the most sumptuous colour images in art; richest of all are her images with flowers, leaves and weeds.” (2) To document her experiences in the lab, Sheridan assembled a report containing detailed descriptions of her methods of creation and findings. (b) In addition, after completing both residencies at 3M, she composed a book that displayed the creative applications of her research. (c)

Kathryn Farley © 2007 FDL

(1) To learn more about the Color-in-Color copier, please visit the “Processes” section of this project.

(2) Diane Kirkpatrick, “Sonia Landy Sheridan and the Evolution of her Generative Systems Program,” Visual Resources: an International Journal of Documentation, vol. XXII, no. 4 (December 2006) p. 355.