Tetra is a color lithograph created in 1957 by American printmaker Dennis Ray Beall. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 4/5. This impression was printed by the artist on ivory Warren's Oldestyle paper and the image measures 12-5/8 x 17-3/4 inches. This impression of Tetra is illustrated on page 20 in California Society of Printmakers: One Hundred Years 1913-2013.
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. Tetra is from this period.
Beall used the medium much as a painter uses a canvas, covering the entire stone with an image. Employing a single stone, he would print color after color to build the composition. He described his technique: "The stone may be re-sensitized without regrinding. Areas of the preceding drawing may be retained, other areas scrubbed or scraped, new design elements introduced, old ones reinforced...The enormous freedom implied by this system lies in its directness. The communication between the artist and his materials, the successive acts of printing, drawing, scrubbing, and correcting create a continuum which cannot be duplicated in the traditional workshop."
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’s work 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.