Welcome to Wooden Storytellers. Click an image below to enlarge and to view each work. Use this Family Activity guide for art activities in response to the exhibit! Use these Discussion Questions to explore the exhibit in more depth!
Jessica Billey is an artist and musician living in Corvallis, Oregon. Her artwork includes relief printmaking with a current focus on highly detailed macro botanical woodcut prints. Exhibits include Woodblocks, a two-person exhibition (with Tim Hartsock) at the Corrine Woodman Gallery of The Arts Center in Corvallis, OR, and BIG INK II at the Bend Art Center in Bend, OR, featuring large-scale woodblocks printed at Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene, OR. Previous exhibits have included work and performances at SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico, Brooklyn Fire Proof Gallery in New York, Postcommodity’s Spirit Abuse Gallery in Albuquerque, NM, and An Evening Redness in the West, a group exhibit with art collective Death Convention Singers at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, NM.
Additional artwork features People Who Live Alone and explores the unique experience of solo living through portrait drawing and storytelling. This evolving, long-term project, started in August 2017, seeks to shatter stereotypes, rearrange the dialogue, and inspire and help facilitate lasting resources for people who live alone. Currently, over 35 million people in the U.S., including more than 60% of millennials, live alone. This project provides an immediate and accessible platform for people to be seen and heard.
Jessica is also a Sifu of Yang Style Tai Chi Ch’uan and a musician (violin and more) with decades of stage and studio experience both nationally and internationally. Groups she has toured and performed with include Paramount Styles, Smog, Nicolai Dunger, Death Convention Singers, Boxhead Ensemble, the Huntress String Quartet, and the Grave of Nobody’s Darling. She currently performs under the moniker Venus Rings.
When I moved to Oregon in the fall of 2017, I was instantly overwhelmed by the towering trees, lush ferns and moss, and the incredible abundance of life all around. I had been living in New Mexico for 12 years, and the Pacific Northwest was like a dream. I had literally moved from the desert to the garden. When spring arrived, I could barely keep up with all the colors and complexities of so many flowers. This place is a treasure!
In early 2018, I had the honor of participating in a BIG INK print event at Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene. BIG INK curates printmaking events around the country and features large scale woodblock prints. It was an exciting opportunity to return to one of the mediums I love the most. It seemed especially fitting, living in the land of trees and timber, to work with wood. It was also a wonderful chance to really focus on the incredible beauty of this new place I am still exploring.
Ravenous Blooms is a macro view of local flowers. It is an exciting challenge to carve softness and lightness into a hard surface. Using sharp knives and metal tools to render the delicate, gentle movement of petals seems especially ironic to me. The process of carving woodblocks is incredibly physical and labor intensive, yet the prints can translate into soft and fragile images, especially when printed on fine, thin papers.— Jessica Billey
Working on a large scale macro image also allows me the wonderful chance to explore the small, subtle interplay of light and shadow and darkness. Each petal becomes complex and marvelous. It is exciting to work with woodcuts and the process of printmaking to share the things I see. There is beauty all around us. Sometimes the closer we look, the more beautiful it becomes.
I would like to thank Will and Alicia Allen, Whiteaker Printmakers in Eugene, Lyell Castonguay and BIG INK from New Hampshire, the incredibly beautiful and inspiring flora and fauna of Oregon, and Spokane Arts and the Chase Gallery for the opportunity to share my art.
Christopher O’Flaherty is an artist who currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated with a BFA in painting and minor in art history from Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in 2014, and while he attended school Chris exhibited in numerous exhibitions. He left to attend a summer residency program at Chautauqua Institution School of Art. There he studied under Sharon Louden, Stanley Lewis, Don Kimes, and was introduced to the medium of wood block printing by Tom Raneses. He soon adjusted his focus to include relief printing in addition to his painting practice. He returned to Lyme to finish the last year of his bachelor’s degree, and prepared for his senior thesis show. During the spring of 2014, as he was creating his first cohesive body of artwork, he interned as a printmaking assistant for Jim Reed, where he learned basic etching and lithography techniques and relief printing. He continued to focus on the woodblock printing, and he soon graduated from Lyme Academy with honors and a series of paintings and prints. His first solo show was in February of 2015 where he displayed those drawings and a series of new woodblock prints at Marquee Gallery. Later that year, he organized a group show Inner Portraits with a combination of local, and international artists.
My recent drawings and prints depict teenagers in the suburbs looking for a sense of escape through small house parties, and other mischievous behaviors. Drawing from personal experiences, the work is semi-autobiographical, and relies on the combination of memories and imagination to create the narrative. The awkward characters that fill the pictures are constantly in a state of falling in or out of the pictures. With arms flailing into the picture, the characters are often cropped abruptly and in sensitive areas such as their necks or wrists adding to the awkward compositions. The inconsistent and shifting view offers a playful look into a world of binge drinking and strange love triangles.
This work was heavily influenced by early 20th century German Expressionist woodblock prints where I found inspiration in the expressive use of black. Soon after studying the works, I began to incorporate this black along with a strong pop element in my own woodblock prints.— Christopher O'Flaherty
I was looking to balance humor and horror within the work with this new aesthetic through the use of bright colors and black. This idea carried into the drawings as well, and I started using cut paper with decorative patterns as a new pop element.
Robert Maloney, a Massachusetts native, received his Masters of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014 through their interdisciplinary summer low residency MFA program. Robert has shown at numerous galleries throughout the Boston area including the Mercury Gallery, C Duell Arts, Copley Society of Art (CoSo), Kingston Gallery, Lincoln Arts Project, Fourth Wall Project, 13 Forest, McGladrey Gallery and Installation Space in North Adams. In recent years Robert has expanded from the gallery space into public art projects as well as multimedia installations. In 2016 Robert’s Haffenreffer Restoration Project restored the signage that had been missing from the top of this historic Boston landmark for over 30 years. Robert has been in two of the Illuminus public art festivals in Boston as well as a solo exhibition of his work at the Installation Space in North Adams MA in 2019.
Robert’s prints and mixed media work incorporates various aspects of the urban landscape. His work straddles the line between a structure being torn down and a structure being erected. He likes to think of his work as a 21st century archeological dig where decades of imagery accumulates and deteriorates at various stages. Robert combines found and created textures, patterns, digital elements and imagery of 3 dimensional structures to create works that evoke the feeling of discarded billboards and old warehouses.
Jun Lee (Falls Church, VA) is a printmaker who works in large format woodcut utilizing animals as metaphors to convey competition in our daily lives. She is currently the Printmaking Artist in Residence at the Lee Arts Center in Arlington, VA and she teaches relief printmaking at Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring, MD. Her work was purchased for 2019 Montgomery County Contemporary Works on Paper Artwork, Public Art Collection of the Montgomery County Public Art Trust by Montgomery County Public Art Trust (Silver Spring, MD). Lee was awarded 2020 & 2019 DC Art Bank grant by the Government of DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (Washington, DC, 2019), and was one of the semifinalists for the 2018 Sondheim Artscape Prize (Baltimore, MD). She was awarded the Artist in Residency from Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring in Fall Semester 2018, the Denbo Fellowship from Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (Hyattsville, MD) in 2017, and also completed winter residencies at Penland School of Crafts (Penland, NC) in 2017 through 2020.
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including: Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA, 2019), The Little Gallery (Omaha, NE, 2019), Alper Initiative for Washington Art at the American University Museum (Washington, DC, 2019), University of Maryland Global Campus, Adelphi, MD (Adelphi, MD, 2019 & 2016), Highpoint Center for Printmaking (Minneapolis, MN, 2018), Decker and Meyerhoff galleries, Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD, 2018), Artists and Makers Studios (Rockville, MD, 2018), K Space Contemporary (Corpus Christi, TX, 2017), Purdue University Galleries (West Lafayette, IN, 2017), Waverly Street Gallery (Bethesda, MD, 2016), Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery (Washington, DC, 2015), Insa Art Center (Seoul, South Korea, 2014)
My body of work attempts to evoke the different moments of our competitive lives; pieces that express the spectrum of competition from hiding away to preparing for a fight.
The reality is that all life is competition and we create barriers in our minds that allow us to think we have a space we can step into where the competition stops. That constructed space allows us to regroup and enter the next fight toward our goal. Every attempt might not succeed or look glorious, but every victory is built upon the foundation of loss, suffering, effort, and sacrifice. The ability to be successful is not dependent on the number of triumphs that you have, but rather your willingness to get up and continue the struggle after a defeat.
-Jun Lee artist statement
Born and educated in Adelaide, Australia, JL Abraham moved to New York City to study literature at Columbia University and stayed. She has published book reviews, essays, and two books—Are Girls Necessary: Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories (1996) and Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities (2008)—and teaches LGBT Studies at Sarah Lawrence College.
She studied printmaking and painting at The Art Students League of New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She is a member of the Society of American Graphic Artists and the Boston Printmakers, and is represented by The Old Print Shop (NYC).
J.L. Abraham works by hand (printing and painting), works on paper (French sheets, Japanese rolls, machine made in America), and works through aggregation (of blocks, colors, methods, sheets). Though she often multiplies, she rarely duplicates.
Language and color are her subjects. In her mind’s eye, Minimalism meets “Pattern and Decoration,” Gertrude Stein meets the Albers (Anni and Josef).
As a printmaker, she paints through printing. As a painter, she threads through printed grids. Printing, she turns text into drawing, language into pattern. In her painting, shades make statements of their own.
The geometries that result are rarely read as letters (even when they once were)—more often as evocations of the flat space of architectural plans, the bulk of the built environment, or the technological mazes in which we live.— JL Abraham artist statement
The first seven years of my life were spent in a remote, rural region known as Tierra Caliente in Michoacan State, Mexico. I recall no running water nor electricity. Our immediate and extended family lived in Apatzingan, the nearest bona fide town. It was from here that my family and I emigrated to Los Angeles in 1975. It was, in many ways, akin to traveling from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, given the rudimentary conditions to which we were accustomed. This experience – of leaving one land for another, having to constantly redefine what it means to be a human being, a man, a part of a community – is a constant and central theme within my work. I am interested in narratives and vignettes about the seemingly discarded or unimportant moments that shape our culture. I believe that these discounted moments harbor importance and, in isolating these moments, I endeavor to stimulate reflection.
During my formative years our family lived in Wilmington, California, in an old Spanish-styled apartment building we nicknamed “The Standing Dead.” I consider Wilmington to be my hometown. Our small community comprised several cultures; some were welcoming, while others were indifferent or avowedly hostile to our presence. A nearby Boys Club of America afforded me a sanctuary wherein I could doodle, read, and play billiards. It was perhaps there that my creative path began. In time, my attraction to drawing became transformative.
Although some of my work consists of graphite on paper, canvas or wood, I work within other mediums. Creating a new piece is a labor- and time-intensive process, which might necessitate the expenditure of countless pencils and/or graphite leads, and up to hundreds of hours to bring it to fruition.
I am also a self-trained printmaker and have worked with this medium for more than 20 years. Printmaking is an integral part of my work. When crafting a woodblock, my lines follow the contours of my subjects, paying homage to the traditions of master engravers. In doing so, I view my prints as my shouting voice, while the drawings – the templates – are my whispering voice. On occasion, I work on a monumental scale to present my narratives; some blocks are hand carved and may require months to complete. Once printed, each run yields a limited edition.
As with other artists, my work contains autobiographical elements. In particular, I frequently explore the public and private spheres of masculinity. I’ve spent some time examining the concept of masculinity, manhood, and codes of conduct through the lives of men in my life. Often, I make use of the rooster as a metaphor and symbol for manhood, valor, machismo, and patriarchy. As I interpret this beautiful, regal (albeit common) creature, its aim is to convince an opponent of its wisdom and prescience. Yet it is a fierce animal, possessing the primal instinct to fight until its enemy is dispatched. Similarly, some men embody this quality, this sense of cunning, this unique nature, making them ideal subjects of inquiry. At this stage, I’ve come across no definitive answers, and seek only to record, and to interpret, a lifetime of observation.
To my mind, artists’ particular style – their mark – has more significance than their fingerprint or their signature. It is, in point of fact, one of the building blocks of the artist’s DNA. It must be etched with purpose, signifying commitment. It matters not if the mark is smudged or dragged or pushed or erased or redrawn. If that is the imprint, so be it. Think of the act as a tattoo that impregnates the surface. Should you attempt to remove it, it will resist. My marks are calculated to fuse certain images, anointed spaces.— Abel Alejandre
Angela Earley is a printmaker and artist who is forever fascinated with Brooklyn, New York where she was based for eighteen years. Her work is a response to the narratives, mysteries, rhythms and characters present in urban environments and beyond. Angela translates her infinite city memories into emotionally charged imagery that can be universally understood or personally interpreted.
Angela is also a swimmer and art teacher who reads about neuroscience and collects kaleidoscopes. Tap dancing and scuba diving are two skills that she would like to improve upon. Angela has explored the edges and corners of Brooklyn, has rode a rusty bike on many European cobblestone streets, and once lived on an island in Pacific Mexico where she was hired to draw the behavior of lizards. Angela makes grand attempts to understand her exploration of place, people and self through her art.
Angela is a member of Zea Mays Printmaking studio in Florence, Massachusetts. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is in collections worldwide. She received her BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University in 1997 and her MFA in Printmaking from Pratt Institute in 2005.
My motivation is to share and cultivate wonder, preserve the under-recognized, celebrate the absurd, and continue to be enamored with all of the challenges and triumphs that define our lives.— Angela Earley artist statement
Debra Olin is a printmaker, living and working in Somerville, MA. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 1980. Olin has shown in exhibitions across the U.S., Canada, France, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, and Cuba.
Her work is in the permanent collections of the Boston Public Library, Temple Israel, Brookline, MA, YIVO Institute, NYC, The DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. In 2004 Debra was awarded the Rappaport Prize, the largest public annual award to an individual artist in New England. In 2018 Olin received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Award and a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Artist Resource Trust.
The project I am currently involved with uses the body and its connection to nature.
After visiting countless botanical gardens and dealing with a loved one’s battle with cancer, I began to notice similarities between plant forms and the human body’s organs and skeletal structure. I am exploring the relationship between these forms, integrating the figure into trees and botanical settings. Restructuring the human interior I substitute and embellish forms from the natural world.
We see today how intertwined we are with the planet, how all our decisions – from how we grow food to how we utilize our resources has an impact on our health and the future. Coming from a background in sculpture, manipulating materials to be used in my experimental prints has been a natural extension of my art making exploration. I balance the aesthetic, the technical and the conceptual while being open to the surprises that occur in collaboration with the press.
Lyell Castonguay’s woodblock prints depict the natural world as seen through the filter of the artist’s imagination. He teaches woodblock printmaking as the Co-Director of BIG INK, a collaborative project that facilitates the production of large-scale woodblock prints. Castonguay resides in Newmarket, NH.
Birds take on a larger than life presence in my work. As a long-time bird owner, I see my subjects up close every day. I've learned to appreciate their personality as much as their beautiful colors, shapes, and patterns. Birds always remain their own master, and my art is about capturing their indomitable spirit. Like the ancient shamans, who once drew spiritual power from animals, birds are my source of creative power.— Lyell Castonguay artist statement
You walk through the woods and then stop. You look up and are caught within the branches, the lines and shapes, the shadows and forms, the sky.
You’re working under an open pavilion, on an island off the coast of Malaysia. It is time for the afternoon rains. You stop and watch the drops pelt the concrete in amazing rhythms, patterns and chaos.
The sun comes out, and each droplet becomes a mirror, a prism, reflecting light and color briefly before evaporating back into the air or being absorbed into the earth.
You are distracted by the sound of the rain on the skylight above you. It shifts, louder and softer, along with the visual staccato of points.
You hear the birds – so many birds. You look around, but you cannot find them. And then you look up, and see them like notes floating along the treetops.
You are at a lookout point, waiting for the sun to set over the ocean. You turn, and see a wide expanse of quiet tidal pools, ignored by the busloads of tourists surrounding you. You climb down and spend so much time exploring the creatures and plants and colors and forms that you miss the sunset. But you captured something else.
All of these and more are moments to stop, to absorb the colors, the light, the movement and line, the experience of a point in time in the world around us.
Whether walking around my neighborhood or traveling far from home, I have developed the habit of stopping and observing my surroundings. Sometimes the focus is on the unique; sometimes it is on the universal. But it is always about this moment, this brief, fleeting moment.
Carolyn’s work has been in local, national, and international exhibitions, including the solo exhibitions “Here and Now: Prints by Carolyn Muskat” at the Irving Arts Center, Irving, TX, “A Sense of Place” at Smith College in MA and “Waystation” at Art House 5 in Hanoi, Vietnam, plus the group exhibitions “2nd Jogja International Miniprint Biennale 2016”, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, “Four Americans: Prints and Works on Paper” at the Fine Arts Assoc. Exhibition House in Hanoi, Vietnam, and “BIG INK” at Florida State College, South Gallery at Jacksonville, FL. Recently, Carolyn traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam as one of two representatives from the U.S. for the International Arts Residency and Festival “Hanoi Arts Connecting 4”. In May 2018, Carolyn traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to teach and work at Artists Proof Studio. In 2016, Carolyn was invited to participate in the Pulau Ketam International Art Festival on the isle of Pulau Ketam, Malaysia. In 2015, she participated in the Yogyakarta International Art Festival. The festival hosted 50 artists from 20 different countries to create work in Indonesia. Carolyn also represented the US at the Sasaran International Art Festival 2014, an international arts workshop and residency in Malaysia. The festival invited over 70 artists from 23 countries, creating and sharing work over 12 days. After the festival, Carolyn traveled to Vietnam for her first solo exhibition in Vietnam. In 2010, 2012 and 2013, Ms. Muskat was invited to teach at the Center for Graphic Excellence in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she worked with some of the most respected artists in the country. In 2012, she was awarded the Vietnam Art Medal, an award given to only four other non-Vietnamese artists at that time.
Carolyn Muskat owns and operates Muskat Studios, a professional printmaking studio in Somerville, MA where she creates her own work and collaborates with artists to produce original fine art prints. The Studio recently celebrated 25 years of collaboration and artistic creation with the publication of a portfolio of prints: “25 Artists, 25 prints, 25 years”. The 20th anniversary of the studio celebrated with an exhibition at Somerville’s Brickbottom Gallery. Carolyn has worked with more than 50 artists to publish over 400 prints in the past two decades. A full-color catalog was produced, including all of the work created at the studio, plus a history of the founding of the studio and an overview of printmaking in the Boston area.
Ms. Muskat has also been invited to teach at several local art colleges, including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Hartford Art School, and Lesley University College of Art & Design. At the 2019 SGCI Conference in Dallas, TX, Carolyn was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award. As part of the 2015 SGCI Conference in Knoxville, TN, Carolyn participated in the International Panel: “Outside the Comfort Zone: The Print as a form of Graphic Diplomacy”. She has also presented numerous technical demonstrations. She has been a guest professor for AIB’s Master of Fine Arts program, and a visiting artist and lecturer at RISD, Boston University, Montserrat College of Art, Wellesley and Salem State College. She has given numerous talks and lectures at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, and the Museum of Printing in North Andover. Ms. Muskat is an active member of The Boston Printmakers, serving over 7 years on its Executive Board and 2 years as its President, and was the Finance Chair of the committee that organized and hosted the 2003 Southern Graphics Conference, Boston. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and is a Tamarind Master Printer.
Beth Howe’s work investigates the built environment and how architecture affects and reflects the way we perceive and understand land and landscape. Her work involves print, drawing, artists books, and investigations into the use of technology together with analog making practices in print and textiles. She currently serves as Associate Professor in Print Media at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Clive McCarthy was born in Upton Park, London and studied Electronics at University of Salford, England. After many decades working in the semiconductor industry, he received an MFA at San Francisco Art Institute and put his experience working with computers into creating generative artwork for the screen.
Recent exhibitions of this collaborative project include: ‘Stitching, Weaving, Coding’ (SF Design Week Feature Exhibition, San Francisco, CA); ‘Stitching and Weaving in the Digital Age’ (Currents New Media Festival at Currents 826, Sante Fe, NM); ‘Prinstallations’ (San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA); and ‘Iona Drawings’, a public artwork for Shunpike Storefronts Seattle in Seattle, WA.
Beth Howe and Clive McCarthy:
Beth Howe: http://www.beth-howe.com
Clive McCarthy: https://www.fourteenthstreetstudio.com/
MBB: Fremont Bridge Portland
Our collaborative projects bring together Beth’s background in print and drawing with Clive’s background in programming and generative media. We try to combine the creative work of coding with the creative work of visual art practices that primarily engage with analog materials like wood, metal, paper, and pigments. Can we make the code ‘real’? Can analog materials be shaped by algorithm?
We have used a CNC milling machine as our tool of translation, repurposing it to follow our work through woodcut printing to drawing and brush painting. We have developed code that transforms our photographic images into aesthetic experiments and then prepares the digital images to be cut into wood to produce woodcut printing plates, or to be drawn with pen or brush onto paper, or scribed into metal to be printed as etchings.
The imagery we are working with is that of the monumental and yet commonplace: bridges, overpasses, boulders, warehouses. In the process of making – coding, cutting, printing, recoding, recutting, reprinting - we watch how translation generates noise. A seamless transfer from one language to another, one file type to another, is unusual. The failures of translation create new possibilities though they rupture a perceived sanctity of the image: moirés, abstractions, fouled plates, overprints, bad code, and a beautiful wobbly line that was not in the code, but perhaps was a ghost in the machine.
The single most compelling and recurrent idea that has permeated my work over the past several years is that of rhythmic change---growth and decay, light and shadow, occurrence and recurrence, advance and retreat, rise and fall, ebb and flow. As I work from the landscape, I am more inclined to interpret and transpose, allowing experience and imagination to predominate over what has literally been seen. The resulting images are expressions of a personal view in which fragments of reality are abstracted to conform to my own inner vision and personal experience.— Robin Gibson artist statement
Robin Gibson, Associate Professor of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, received a BA degree in Psychology and a B.F.A. degree in Art from the University of New Hampshire and her M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Prior to coming to Penn State in 1982, she held teaching positions at California State University – Long Beach and Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.
As an active and committed printmaker, Robin has participated in workshops at Tamarind Institute and Oxbow Book and Paper Intensive, as well as several artist residencies including the Frans Masereel Center in Belgium and Zea Mays Printmaking, MA. Her prints are exhibited widely in solo, group and juried exhibitions and are included in numerous museum, university and corporate print collections. Robin Gibson is also active professionally with workshop presentations at other colleges and universities, speaking engagements, juror responsibilities, and community art services.
Zachariah J Schmitt hails from the steamy swamps of “The Ocala National Forest” but now resides on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (somehow at a lower sea level?). After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2015 he became the founder/organizer of HUGERELIEFpress, a small print shop that specializes in ridiculous, pretty, ugly, useless printed matter; in other words, ART! Zack has worked with artists such as Lyell Castonguay, Kathryn Polk, Tom Huck, Dennis Mcnett, Bill Fick, Kyle Van Horne, and many other hard working lesser known artists ranging around the lower 48. HUGERELIEFpress works have been displayed in Baltimore, Annapolis and Chestertown, Maryland, As well as Raleigh, Hendersonville and Durham North Carolina.
When Zachariah isn’t working on crazy big woodcuts, you could try locating him somewhere in the middle of the woods with his wife and his dog. When that search fails you can usually find him renovating one house or another, ankle deep in concrete or crawling under said house. You might even find him at the wheel of his Conrad etching press making more useless pretty things. You will never know until you try…
When I commit myself to making a finished print, it’s either going to follow one of two directions; it’s either going to be a joke or pun, or its going to be a fable/parable. The pieces that are jokes exist for the sheer joy of inking and carving and printing. The fables/parables are where the conversation is worth having. I produce these pieces from rumors and cautionary tales passed to me by my mother and my sisters. Upon occasion I may have even witnessed some of these stories, most occasions I only grew up observing their aftermath. With the “Legends of the Ocala National Forest,” these are my interpretations of my neighbors, parents, friends, and family that surrounded us in the sprawling Florida trailer park network. That fabled network made of dirt roads, swamps, and miles and miles of scrubland where the police rarely showed their faces and where human skeletons still surface regularly.
The formatting of all of my “Legends” series are intentionally derived from medieval religious iconography and well-known perennial favorites from the Baroque, Renaissance and Mannerism as well as a sprinkling of Pop Culture references. Once a particular piece leaves my hands it has its own life, fully open to interpretation by its new audience.
I always know what my direction is with each piece I put into the world and aside from the enjoyment and personal catharsis in sculpting each narrative I’m hoping to intrigue the observer into wanting to see another piece in the series. I want to tap into the patron’s latent fascination of the macabre, I want these pieces to feel dirty and cheap and wonderful like a carnival side show, like the bearded lady or alligator boy, or the elephant man. I want the viewer to gawk. I want the observer to leave intrigued and disturbed by true stories distilled into a print that filters into their nightmares.— Zachariah Smith
Stephen Grossman is a visual artist working primarily in drawing and painting in New Haven, CT. He was trained as an architect and received his BArch from The Cooper Union in 1986. His early work was based on environmental experiences and focused on site specific installations. His work has been exhibited at The Drawing Center, Aldrich Museum, Real Art Ways, Artspace New Haven, New York Studio School Dumbo Sculpture Studio, Weir Farm Trust Gallery, Schweinfurth Art Center, Mt Ida College, Giampietro Gallery, Kenise Barnes Fine Arts and other numerous other venues. In 2006 he was a visiting artist at the Weir Farm Historic Trust. In 2002 he received an NEA grant for his public art project “Fencing”. He has taught visual arts at
The University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State University. In addition, he has curated exhibitions at the (untitled)Space gallery in New Haven including a Sol LeWitt wall drawing installation, executed by high school students in 2001. He served on the board of Artspace New Haven from 2002 to 2009 and was president of the board from 2004 to 2007.
Much of my work investigates the forms, standards and language associated with architecture, urbanism and cartography. I began my art practice as an architect and environmental artist but now work primarily in pencil, sumi ink and gouache on paper or in oil and encaustic on wood. I have also made etchings and woodblock prints. This work is essentially flat and composed of linear elements but there is an undercurrent of a spatial dimension, an environment and this is often reference in the work’s title. At times, particularly the encaustic paintings begin to suggest relief sculpture. This led into the making of wooden relief sculpture and then free-standing objects.
The sculptural works are more personal but still relate to a conception of the built world, the city. As a descendent of Eastern European Jews I feel a belonging to, (and exclusion from) the European city. In making this work I am imagining a residue of extinguished Jewish communities in southeastern Europe. The cities and towns remain but an essential piece of society is missing; lost. My work addresses that loss, the sense of vacuity within an urban space. The sculptures are modest in size and means, they are mostly hand carved in soft wood with a range of textures and accents of color. In form they bridge the architectural and the figurative. They are domestic whereas the paintings and drawings belong to the public realm.
Reinaldo Gil Zambrano is an award-winning printmaking artist based in Spokane, WA from Caracas, Venezuela. From an early age, RGZ began collecting unique stories from random social encounters that highlight the common aspects of the human identity that later enriched the visual narratives of his drawings and relief prints.
His narrative raises questions of daily issues equally experience by people across culture and borders using relief printing as a storytelling tool for its illustration and reflection. He studies the universal idea of home and how it affects individual personalities by exploring iconography derived from the Majority World and fascinating storytelling inspired by Hispanic literature’s magical realism and illustrations from the Venezuelan Rosana Farias. His wordless visual narratives seek to challenge the limitations of the written language and bring people together in celebration of the commonality of their collective experiences.
His desire to promote the printmaking practice has guided him towards the development of projects such as “First Vandal Steam Roller Project”, “The Ink Rally”, projects where large carved pieces were printed on fabric using an asphalt roller and the help of many printmaking enthusiasts. RGZ have been collaborating with local non-profits in the development of Spokane Print Fest a venue that celebrates all things print related where local universities, students, artists, instructors and professors offered live printing demos and exhibited artwork in the pursue of promoting accessible printmaking to the rest of the community. Such projects have worked as communal developers and forces of integration between the academic, artistic and larger community in the Northwest.
Reinaldo is currently an adjunct instructor in the art department at Eastern Washington University as well as an artist member at Saranac Art Projects and Co-founder of the Spokane Print & Publishing Center.
This piece showcases the value of childhood and how we treasure the things that we learn to forget while growing up to become “productive adults”. All these different memories, such as the house where we once where children, our childhood desires and dreams are now memories that are collected as ornaments in our unconsciousness. In this visual narrative two versions of the same individual separated by time are facing each other, one is an older version of the other. The larger one, older, unhappy, discouraged and more experienced is looking with nostalgia towards a more courageous and braver younger version of herself that is resting on top of the house she grew up.— Reinaldo Gil Zambrano artist statement
Rachel Thern was born in Philadelphia but grew up on Long Island, New York. She studied for two years at the Maryland Institute College of Art and then completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the State University of New York, University at Buffalo where she also received a BA in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. She has spent time living in San Diego, California, and Baltimore, Maryland. She currently lives in Western Massachusetts and shows at the Kingston Gallery in Boston, where she is an Associate Member.
Repeatedly adding curves and organic shapes to a piece, I can arrive at an emergent pattern that shows my internal representation of the expanse of external space. This is how I visualize the underlying structure of nature.— Rachel Thern, Repeat as Needed artist statement
Eben Kling is a painter, cartoonist, and printmaker working and living in Branford CT. He holds a BFA in printmaking from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly MA, and an MFA in interdisciplinary studio arts from UMASS Amherst. Currently, he is assistant professor of illustration and printmaking at Central Connecticut State University. Recent exhibitions include Negative Event, at Mingo Gallery in Beverly MA, On the Beach at the Elusie Gallery in East Hampton MA, and Truth Lies in Narrative at Montserrat College of Art.
This work does not attempt to drive into the bedrock of any political or social proclivity, but instead struggle to confuse and depict our current state of mania, cultural instability, and incivility.— Eben Kling artist statement