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2010 Multiple Originals XV

I was diagnosed with talent at an early age, and was always the artist of the family. I was proud of my draftsmanship, but as time went by, I realized that I couldn't take credit for my talent; it was a gift. What I do take credit for is the effort I have made through the years to master my craft, those areas of printmaking that I focus on: mezzotint, etching and linoleum. My preferred subject is the human face and figure.  I am fascinated by faces, and in trying to capture them I increase my understanding of what it means to be human.
I respond to both my physical location and the environment of ideas. Expressing contrasts, making comparisons and weaving dichotomies into the meanings of images. I combine traditional and non-traditional techniques, hand-coloring, collage and chine colle.
I create abstract woodblock prints to investigate and respond to the visual, tactile, and experiential world. I make these works by carving marks into wood that is then rolled with ink. The inked impression is transferred to paper by rubbing with a wooden spoon. Each layer of color builds a surface that is both planned and accidental. Printing and carving occur in stages—I cut back into the same blocks over and over again through time. In this way, as the print is created, the blocks are destroyed. I view the process of relief printmaking as a metaphor exposing the gaps between the physical, the imagined, and what we perceive as the "seen” reality.

My imagery resides in this gap between visual impressions and the conjuring of names or descriptions. This gap is what separates the familiar from the unknown and is where I try to situate each work. I juxtapose the sensual and visceral against the spiritual and symbolic and create realms where the sacred and profane exist in tandem. To accomplish this, I obfuscate, deconstruct, reassemble, and transform visuals culled from my perceptions of both organic and man-made environments, dreams, memories, and learned or imagined myths.

I aim to discover images that deliberately set on edge the associations we bring to forms. In other words, I use forms that might mean many things, have several names, or be both whimsical and terribly dark at the same time. Since the process of constructing narratives is fluid, active, and personal, each viewer completes the work, bringing his or her own associations to bear in how to decipher each piece. It is in this open space—this stream of ever-changing perceptions, before mental categorization and verbal assignments—where we discover how to bridge what we see with what we know.

October 31, 2011... I am about to edition the eighth image for my "White Flower Suite” which I began in February 2011.   The first four were included in "It’s in the Fine Print” exhibition at Brackenwood Gallery, Langley WA.   The flowers were from botanical watercolor studies that I have painted over the years.  Most were never completed and ended up in a drawer until I saw that I had quite a bit of useful information to use in etching!

I was introduced to printmaking in 1996. I was invited by Island International Artists, Anacortes WA to take an etching workshop taught by print artist, Richard Stauffacher.  I discovered that etching gives my work the look I’d been searching for; a medium that combines the precision of drawing, the transparency of watercolor and the richness of oil paint.  I love the process of printmaking and bought a press and set up my own print studio in 1998.

       Lately when I create art it is about getting out of my own head. Letting go of control over the world and planning every minute. It is a kind of meditation that allows my emotions to spill onto the page without being filtered, judged, and edited. I try to let my subconscious direct the process. I like to use organic materials I collect from my yard and on walks. I also use cut paper and found objects in my work. I love that what is essentially a weed can turn into something beautiful on the page and it has given me a new way of looking at the world around me. I have found that art helps me to be more intuitive, creative, and relaxed in all aspects of my life.

I strive for Magritte's basic intention, to make art with a "disturbing poetic effect."ť My work presents exotic subjects in the drama of black and white, or the subtle monochromatic tones of printers' inks. The prints are based on my photos of real places and slightly mysterious objects that are embraced by a post-apocalyptic anxiety, which induces a state of psychological unease in the viewer. The images raise questions, but knowing the back story doesn't necessarily provide comfort. The result is by turns intimate, earthy, fragile, universal, and contemporary. The images are full of the organic subtlety showing the naked beauty of weathered rock and plants, contrasted with man-made architectural elements. The organic elements complement the man-made. In purely aesthetic terms, the works use an interplay of tones and textures, with formal qualities of composition in the arrangements of objects under the viewer's gaze. The unfamiliar induces a state of ambiguity mixed with a strange longing or nostalgia. The camera captures temporal events, figurative and narrative, fragments in the cycle of life and death. History is revealed in multiple layers with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.

My work celebrates the spirit of the people and places I have encountered. Whether this is represented through color, choice of line carved, etched, molded, drawn or painted through the conscious use of mark making via time honored traditions of printmaking techniques, I am interested in honoring the subject. So much is required in developing an image; it serves as a meditative device. The push and pull during the creation process is part intuitive, reactionary, and peace maker.
I find myself combining the past and present on a routine basis in my work. How may I provide the viewer with a snapshot that encapsulates people, place, time? How may I engage the visceral response of the audience? The stories I have been witness to, the beauty I have encountered and the decay of the previously celebrated: all find a home in my heart and art. My work has been described as"visual haiku.

I create dreamy, layered landscapes that evoke the history and memory of place. My recent work is based on travels in the Middle East, where competing historical narratives and cultural memories shape modern life. These works portray a shared landscape, repeatedly divided, and the beauty of a land we only hear about in terms of blood shed. Beneath the divisions of religion, culture or nationality we construct, lies the common human experience.

I discovered printmaking relatively late in life when I took my first printmaking class in 2001. I like the process and the surprises inherent in printmaking. I am continually amazed that I am able to overcome the mess and the dirt that are part of printmaking, but I like the creativity the process brings about. 
I often use my own handmade paper for my printmaking, and I love how the unique characteristics of the paper influence the final print. I am also a gardener, and this is perhaps why I like to use images that appear in nature in my artwork (and in some ways my art is an extension of my gardening). 

My current body of work is based on diseased tissue of the heart, lung and liver tissues. I use this imagery to explore the negative and positive aspects of mutation at a cellular lever, and how it is both destructive and innovative. I break the imagery down into simple, formal, fundamental shapes to create cellular elements which become the tools of my drawing practice. With the development of electron microscopy, I imagine to possess the same filter when choosing the color and composition of my prints. I attach lighting elements to create the experience of looking though a microscope and to add life to the produced tissue samples. Depending on what emotion I want to represent, the imagery will either be a simple composition to emphasize the basic organic growth of life or a very chaotic scene to display stress and tension. I use repetition to give an identity to the cells and the importance of each one's placement.

While the word spirituality often connotes thoughts of inspiration, in actuality it is not necessarily always positive and uplifting, nor does it necessarily require one to spend hours alone in solitude. Spiritual awareness does depend on an interaction with the physical world, and is a process of questioning and understanding what exists around us. Through their lack of specificity, my current drawings question the environments that surround us. Not only is the physical world relevant, but necessary in developing a spiritual awareness. I begin making my drawings with references of real spaces. As I work, I take away many of the concrete elements that link the image to the actual place. These images have simple compositions mixed with a feeling of tension. I find that a feeling of emptiness creates tension and questions how the space operates. These questions are what I find to be the crucial part of developing a sense of spiritual awareness.

Imbued with ritual, the heirloom is more than just an object. It is the accumulation of experience and memories associated with a person, or even a whole family. My work plays with the instability and impermanence of memory. Memory is not always truthful. The heirloom is also a marker of a significant person’s passing. The means of acquiring the object, through the loss of someone significant, creates tension between the person receiving the object and the object, itself. The various pieces that I have made play with the conventions of loss, how we remember, and how we make objects gain significance through history and our desire.

The pieces have a sense of history and of belonging to a group; yet, all the pieces are not traditional heirlooms. For example, Rolodex: Abell-Ongoing, is a rolodex which explores work issues, using sewing. It tries to transform the ordinary into heirloom, using an heirloom’s vocabulary. Each card is an attempt at creating a deeply personal object, which both enchants and discomforts. In Points of Origin, the viewer is confronted with a row of childlike homes. Within each house, the sound of names, births, and marriages are repeated over and over. The nostalgic sensibility engages the viewer in both historical and personal contemplations. Both projects preamble many relevant questions with regard to human relationships: How much do we know about people, how do we categorize one another, and how do our relationships and imagined perceptions affect the way we relate to both the objects and to one another? These heirlooms are instable and fleeting, despite attempts at permanence. The heirloom is transformed into an object that always describes and always indicates absence.

I have a fascination with nature and I love collecting seeds, bones, and oddities I find in the streets. These often inspire ideas along with images I dream. The evolution of those ideas through drawing and the solar intaglio printmaking process is challenging but exciting. Imagination plays a big part in the formation of images and I find it satisfying when it all comes together.
I'm fascinated with the printmaking process, especially the delightful surprises that come the first time a new plate is pulled. I gravitate towards the textural effects of collagraphs finding platemaking is only limited by one’s imagination. My work has been exhibited throughout the US but primarily in Texas, with a second solo show on the books for Chicago in 2015.

I view my work as a collaboration with nature. I make handmade paper with plant materials from my garden. My photographs are also mainly taken in my garden or on hikes. I am fascinated with symbols and intricate patterns that, to me, give glimpses and insights into to the great mysteries of life.

Exhibition Details
12/4/2010 - 12/29/2010
The Dougherty Arts Center
Chair: Ashley Salinas
Event Deadline
The deadline for this event (11/13/2010) has passed.