Friday, July 13, 2018

Big Relief! A Collaborative Print at CAC

This is a mixed media (mostly collograph prints) installation at the Duke Gallery at the Community Arts Center. This was the project I developed for the teaching portion of my teaching artist fellowship at the Community Arts Center's Summer Spree camp. The project was largely inspired by Maria Arango-Diener's puzzle print projects, the last of which I participated in. That work - the Peace Puzzle Woodcut, featuring work by 160 artists from around the world - was displayed in the gallery, and I used it as a visual aid to explain the project to the campers.

I based the design for this work on the camp's theme: Imaginarium. On the right, a watering can emerges, pouring liquid out onto the floor. The liquid pools and spreads, and eventually plant-like forms grow out from it, one of which shoots out a multitude of round bubbles. The whole piece was designed specifically for this indented window space in the gallery. The overall image is a metaphor for inspiration; it suddenly pours in after a period of contemplation. At first it can seem a bit chaotic, but soon orderly and unique forms emerge from it. And while the whole affair might seem unusual or somewhat out of place, it makes meaningful connections that soon allow it to fit in in a new way and make its own sort of sense.

The whole shape was divided into over 80 pieces of various shapes. Each camper received a puzzle piece and used various materials such as craft foam, yarn, lace, buttons, bubble wrap, and burlap, to create a plate to print from. The resulting prints were put back together to make the installation. Camp aids and volunteers added some color with tissue paper to work it more organically into the space, add a 3D element, and visually pull it all together.

My aid and volunteers putting together the puzzle
The finished work was completed and installed today by 68 campers (ages 4-11) with one amazing aid and a few helpful teen volunteers. It will be on exhibit through July 20, alongside the Summer Fellows Exhibit which includes all the artwork for the Nautilus and the Ammonite, selections from other books projects,  some of my related ceramics, and of course the Peace Puzzle Woodcut.

Teen Woodcut Class at CAC: Final Prints

These are some final works by the students who took my woodcut class at the Community Arts Center this week. Even though the class was only 4.5 hours spread out over a week and all were totally new to this medium, they each finished a 2-4 layer reduction and one additional woodcut. Other posts with work from this class can be found here, here, and here.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Triceratops for Teens

I made this little 2-color reduction during the woodcut class for teens I'm teaching this week (see here and here.) I wanted to have something to trade with the students in exchange for copies of their lovely work. I printed different versions and am letting them pick which one they want to keep.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Teen Woodcut Class at CAC: Reductions, layer 1

On day 3 (of 5) of this crash course for beginners, my students printed the first layer of what will be a color reduction woodcut. Hopefully they'll manage to complete 3 layers of color before the end of the week. One student did manage to get to the second color today (see below.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Teen Woodcut Class at CAC: First Proofs

This week I'm teaching a woodcut class to youth ages 12-16 at the Community Arts Center. None of the students had made a woodcut before, and the class is short (5 days, 1.5 hours a day) so this is a rather intense introduction for them. Day one I showed them some example woodcuts, had them draw right onto their boards, demonstrated how to use the knives and gouges, and they got to work carving. Today they finished the first proofs of their first cuts. Not too shabby! I'll be posting the rest of their work as the week progresses.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76 3/3

Harmony by Anne van Oppen
Final highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76. 

A small spider dangles from a bit of web stuck to an index finger. In a moment the bug will land on the foliage beside it and crawl away into the folds of the leaves, and the person will serenely watch them go. 

Memory by Theresa Martin
Upon seeing this second print, I wondered who Wiesel was. I googled and quickly found Elie Wiesel, and knew that was the correct person because something about this print had made me think of Holocaust survivors. The aged and weary face that looks out with such an expression of gratitude speaks volumes. It is the expression of one who can feel immense appreciation for all of life's moments, however small - such as a brief and peaceful encounter outside with a garden spider. 

Highlights from Baren Forum Exchange #76 2/3

Humanity by Brad Ladwig
More highlights from Baren Forum's Exchange #76

With these two prints, the theme of humanity is represented in the abstract. Brad Ladwig's people remind me of Leo Lionni's picturebook Little Blue and Little Yellow, as all the people are shown as circles of color. In Lionni's story, the colors are at first separate, but then they mix, and become unrecognizable to those around them. 

Conversely, in Ladwig's print, the circles are all together in the same bowl, still, static and distinctly separated from each other. As Kahil Gibran wrote On Marriage: "let there be spaces in your togetherness." 

Interconnected, You & Me by Diane Cutter
Diane Cutter's print perhaps shows what happens if the circles intermingle but instead of blending their colors, they create new shape, rather like the intermingling of oil and water. The shapes morph like a lava lamp, creating new shapes as they go, though it seems no matter how much they intermingle, creating ever increasingly complex designs, the even percentages of stark black and white will persist. 

Looking longer at these images, they both seem to illustrate a sort of pluralism, where participants of equal value manage to meaningfully retain their differences as they share the same space with each other.