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.

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