Sunday, March 4, 2012

Publications, a New Print, and other news

Maddy Rosenberg invited me to dust off my collagraph skills recently, by inviting me to write a how-to article for Central Booking Magazine (follow the link to order a copy)! The gives step-by-step instructions, which are illustrated by the making of the print above, Solace.

It's been a while since I made a collagraph outside of a classroom demonstration or print exchange with students. It was exciting to get back into experiment mode - I used to make so many collagraphs, like this one below, made while on a residency in Costa Rica.

My challenge was to fit this technique into my current work, which incorporates a more graphic punch. The final print uses the collagraph as a the first layer of color, with four more layers of linoleum on top. Since I've been back from Wyoming, I've been trying to take more walks. Still not managing to as much as I'd like, but my favorite place to go is Point Pinole, which is where I drew the inspiration for this piece.

I'm not sure what exactly draws me there, I love the panorama of the bay and Mount Tamalpais from it's western side, I love seeing the plethora of birds, I love hearing the wind blow through the grasses. Though I think what I find most comforting is the history - the park is the site of a former munitions company that made black power and dynamite. There are still a few relics on site - like this black powder press.

There is also a bunker where I believe they tested explosives, now almost completely overgrown with trees growing out of the walls. Nature has reclaimed the site, and I find this evidence, with Robert still incapacitated, as a great comfort.

As I continue with this series, I've been wondering about this recurring theme of "people looking at stuff" that seems to crop up often. Not sure where it's going, but I think I might need to break out of the static nature of it soon, though not yet...

In other publication news, Shelley Thorstensen, in other words, a catalog of prints by the woman who introduced me to printmaking is out. I've written an essay for it - and it's the first in the book! It can be ordered online or scrolled though page-by-page here.

I'm also part of a three-person show with Helen Hiebert and Sun Young Kang at MCLA's Gallery 51 in North Adams, MA, curated by Melanie Mowinski. The show is called Branching Together, and as Melanie puts it, in an almost Mary Oliver poem kind of way:

The lines, paths and ways created by fiber, paper and shadow that each of these artists create branch together as they journey from birth, through life and into death. Where are the places inside of each of us that mother, that mourn, that take a stand? How do they branch together in you? How do they branch together in me? How do they branch toward each other, bringing us together as we journey in this great community of earth? I ask you this as the curator, to think about this as you experience this exhibit, what is your path? How is it part of this greater communal journey of birth, life and death?

Image above is my piece, The Ghost Trees, on view in the space.

The idea for Solace was a moment I had at Point Pinole, standing on the eastern side looking over the water. It was early evening, low tide, and birds were feasting on what they could find along the shore. One gull flew in an arch almost directly above my head, crying out a single caw. It seemed directed at me - probably from his perspective, it was either telling me, the predator, to get lost, or warning other birds of my proximity, or some mixture of the two. Yet something about the cry, the moment, the recognition of my presence, reminded me of how interconnected I am to everything. It didn't take away the anxiety and sorrow of everything that's been going on, but it was enough.

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