Amusement Machine is a mixed technique intaglio created in 1958 by American printmaker Dennis Ray Beall. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned II/IV. This impression was printed by the artist on ivory wove paper and the platemark measures 12-7/8 x 17-7/8 inches.
Beall began working abstractly with color lithography as a student at San Francisco State College beginning in 1953. A friendship with printmaker John Ihle led him explore the intaglio process in the late 1950s. Amusement Machine is a combination of etching, aquatint, and soft-ground. It relates to Bealls earlier work in lithography as close inspection reveals that he painted on the acid resist or let it drop from his brush onto his plate. This image has swirling, dynamic circles and whorls that are offset the tall mechanical rocking towers of the carnival rides. The viewer might imagine the cacophony of carnival music and hawkers, and luminousity of an amusement park at night.
Dennis Ray Beall, printmaker, educator, curator, and administrator, was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1929. After serving in the U.S. Navy, which included attending Electronics Materiel School on Treasure Island off San Francisco, he returned to Oklahoma in 1950 to attend Oklahoma City University. Relocating to California in 1953, Beall enrolled at San Francisco State University, where he was part of a group of printmakers that experimented with the gestural freedom of Abstract Expressionism, using lithography.
Beall was registrar at the Oakland Museum of California briefly in 1958 before becoming a curator at the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in San Francisco, working with E. Gunter Troche. He held that position until 1965 when he began his teaching career at San Francisco State University where he taught printmaking.
Dennis Ray Beall is represented in the collections of the Janet Turner Print Museum, California State University Chico; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museum of Modern Art New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, the University of Oklahoma, Norman; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts.