Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Goodbye SNAP!

Goodbye to the studio and the wonderful people at SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Printmakers in Edmonton)! It is so great that every major city has a print studio where I can make my work. I worked here for the past six months, editioning the last print from my thesis exhibition and printing a new linocut! Now all my tools, inks, paper and plates are packed up and I'm ready to move on to new adventures.


Intaglio, Chine-Collé.
60cm x 90cm.

I finally finished printing an edition of three of the last print from my thesis exhibition. I worked on this edition over the course of the past three months. I built up the image by printing and layering about thirty (mostly small) printing plates. It's a bit of a crazy process, but when I started the piece, it was a rather experimental image, which made printing the edition a bit of a challenge. I printed one to two plates on each sheet of translucent gampi paper per day at the studio. The ink has to dry in between print cycles. Once finished, I mounted the gampi on a sheet of rag paper.
The imagery in this piece is part of my Dispossession series and depicts the displacement of subsistence farmers that are forced off their lands by the expansion of soy production, represented by the mechanical image element of a pneumatic soy seeder. Please note that some of the figures are carrying seed jars, symbolizing the ongoing effort to save seeds and the hope that more sustainable planting traditions might persist and be saved, even though they might lie dormant for a while.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Winnipeg V

My Winnipeg V.
60cm x 60cm. 

Since I finished grad school I've been in this strange transition phase: transitioning into a new studio, transitioning from being a student to being a professional artist once again, and transitioning towards new work. Well, not entirely new work. Since I'm only in Edmonton till the end of the year and this studio is only a temporarily work space for me, and part of my time I spend teaching and my head is busy making moving plans, I haven't really found the right mental space to make conceptually complex work and continue with the direction of my grad school work at the moment. So, I decided to delve into my comfort zone again and make a print that comes easy while still being labour intensive and satisfying. So, here is My Winnipeg V, a linocut that I really enjoyed carving. The image shows parts of Crescentwood, Munson Park along the Assiniboine River, 514 Wellington Crescent (this mansion was/is threatened to be demolished to make way for condos I believe. I wonder if it's still standing and if it will get preserved after all?), West-, Middle-, and Eastgate, Westminster Church, the wonderful and forever playful Art City, and parts of River/Osborne. While my early Winnipeg prints were my attempts to get to know and connect with the city, at this point my maps have become the direction of my dreams towards a city I love and wish to return to.

Linoleum Plate Detail. Carving in progress. I use a flooring linoleum from Tarkett flooring. It is easy to carve since it has a high cork content.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Once More with Feeling - Book Cover

Earlier this year I was approached by House of Anansi Press about using one of my prints on the book cover of a novel by Winnipeg author Méira Cook. Of course I was more than pleased to agree and here it is! I can't wait to get my own copy and read the book. The book launch in Winnipeg is on October 2, at 7pm at McNally Robinson. You can find more information about the book launch on the McNally Robinson website.

Splitgraphic 8 - Young Artist Award

My work was selected for the International Art Biennial - Splitgraphic 8 in Split, Croatia and I am thrilled to have received the Young Artist Award! The curator for this exhibition was Ingrid Ledent from Belgium. The Group Exhibition Student Selection will take place from November 24 December 5, 2017 at the University Gallery Vasko Lipovac in Split.

Update: Here are a few photos from the opening of the student selection exhibition on November 24, 2017.  (Images shared from facebook: Splitgraphic International Graphic Art Biennial)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Xi'an 2017

I just returned from a week in Xi'an/China where I had been invited to attend the opening of the Fourth Silk Road International Art Exhibition. It was wonderful meeting more than fifty artists from around the world. The food was great, the markets were an experience and sightseeing was fabulous. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to go. Thank you to all the people who made it happen!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Fourth Silk Road International Exhibition

I have been invited to Xi'an/China for a week to attend the Fourth Silk Road International Exhibition opening, conference events and sightseeing. I am honoured to have two of my prints as part of this exhibition. (Dispossession & Migration).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Solo Exhibition at A/P Gallery

I have a solo show coming up at the Alberta Printmakers Gallery in Calgary June 2nd - July 15, 2017. I will do an artist talk on June 2nd at 7pm followed by a reception. The work on display is a selection of my MFA thesis work.  Click here to read an essay about my work by Dana Tosic. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

SGC-International Awagami Paper Award

I'm the happy recipient of the new SGC-International Awagami Paper Award. See Facebook announcement below. To see full posting, please visit my Facebook page or view the images here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MFA Exhibition Review in The Gateway

I got a well written and thoughtful review about my MFA Exhibition in The Gateway. Click on the link to access it:

Thesis Defence & Reception

On February 21 I successfully defended my MFA thesis work. On March 2, I had a wonderful reception with more than two hundred people in attendance (see photos below). Thank you everyone for coming to celebrate with me or for thinking of me on that special evening. For the past month I've been trying to get my bearings again, de-stress a bit, but mostly keeping busy with student tours at the gallery, photographing work, and working on my supporting thesis document. I haven't printed anything in six weeks and I'm really starting to miss it!

My advisor Sean Caulfield and I at the reception.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Interview about MFA Thesis Exhibition

CuriousArts at the University of Alberta published an interview with me and some great photos of my show.
Check it out here:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Printing Seeds of Hope

Some people have asked me how I print an eight foot long (240cm) banner of paper.
Here is a short 2 minute video of me printing a plate on the central banner of Seeds of Hope.

I have already wiped the copper printing plate with an open bite etch, so the video focuses on the printing process (sorry the image of the hands on the plate isn't really visible in the video). This is one of the last plates that I'm layering on an almost finished piece. I worked with three different printing plates, each 24" x 36" in size (60cm x 90cm). For each print, I arranged the plate and the paper rather freely on the press bed. The paper is a Japanese Shoji paper from the Japanese Paper Place in Toronto, which picked up the aquatints better than I thought it would and which held up to being re-dampened and run through the press somewhere between 75 - 100 times. I printed this piece over the course of six weeks, printing a few plates every day to avoid too much offsetting of the ink. Once I arrange the plate and the Shoji paper on the press, I place a heavier, damp, western paper over top of the plate to absorb some of the blanket weave pattern before I put the printing blankets down. I let part of the paper hang over the edge of the press, and I release the pressure before I pull the paper out at the end. This print was printed at the University of Alberta graduate print studio.
For the printmaking nerds out there who want to see a version a bit closer to real time with a few more process details, here is a 7 minute version of the same video.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thesis Exhibition Installation

It is time! This week is the installation of my masters thesis exhibition. It has been busy and a bit stressful, but I've enjoyed every moment of it. We're almost done with a few final touches left for tomorrow.
For The Soy Field (above), there were 145 square foot size paper tiles to glue onto the wall, which took us two days. We've used a rice paste as used in chine-collé (or wheat pasting), which we spread on the damp paper sitting on a piece of acetate. We can then easily lift the acetate, shift the print into position and press it against the wall. Thankfully somebody has invented a laser level! And thankfully there was gallery staff who did most of the work (Thanks Phoebe and Myken!).

Below is Seeds of Hope, finally installed as I've envisioned it all along. I'm so pleased with the way it looks in this space, with the seed jars sitting on a bed of black earth underneath the banners with the hands.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Invitation to my MFA Thesis Exhibition

It is time. The invitations for my MFA Thesis exhibition are printed. This week I'm installing my show at the FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta. And next week is my defence. It feels a bit surreal to have reached this point, but I feel happy, satisfied, and proud of the work I made during the past two years.

Laser cut Woodblock Prints

I've had some fun over the past few weeks playing a bit with some additional tiles for my soy field. I wanted to find a way to include digital imagery without using digital prints which can appear rather flat. I found these great photographs of harvest combines driving over massive soy fields in almost militaristic formations that have this threatening feel of sheer power. One of my professors tracked down a laser cutter and she ended up cutting the images into woodblocks, which I then printed as relief prints. I'm very pleased with the results and I'm especially happy how they look with the soy plant etching plate printed over top to connect the tile with the rest of the piece (see The Soy Field).

Woodblock detail. 

Inked woodblock.

Here is another woodblock print I did with a laser cut digital photo of a soy field.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Seeds of Hope

(I updated the photos in this post and added one with the seed jars).

It is hard to believe that I've almost finished my masters. I have one month till my defence, three weeks till the exhibition install. I'm still printing, not exactly frantically, but steadily every day to finish my last piece. Here is a picture of the piece in progress. Since this print will be free-hanging in the centre of one of the gallery spaces, I'm printing on both sides. I'm still working on the back and I might make a few changes to the front yet (I updated the photo and it's the final version of the front now). It's been an interesting challenge printing on this scale. The central paper banner measures a little over 3 feet x 8 feet (98cm x 240cm), but I can move the printing plates and the paper quite freely on the press bed, although it is quite cumbersome. Fortunately the paper is quite sturdy and has withstood all the rigours of dampening and printing (Japanese Shoji Paper).

Most of the work in my thesis exhibition is a bit dark and melancholy, dealing with environmental, social, and economic issues of industrial agriculture in Paraguay, the rapid disappearance of the dry forests due to deforestation, dispossession and migration of indigenous people and peasant farmers, etc. One of the big topics I also looked at and which ultimately inspired this piece is food sovereignty, which encompasses access to local foods, the right to grow food through subsistence farming, as well as the right to save seeds. I wanted to create a piece that was a bit more hopeful, and the image of a seed with the potential for growth and a symbol for life preserved in a seed jar emerged. I commissioned my husband, Terry Hildebrand, who is a potter, to make these jars inspired by the forms of ancient earthenware seed jars from indigenous peoples in the Chaco. However, I also wanted to give the jars a more contemporary look, so Terry glazed the porcelain with a clear shiny glaze. I put decals with screen printed images of seed germination cycles of beans, squash, and corn - traditional staple foods - on each jar. 

The hands symbolize the collective effort needed to fight for the right to save seeds, to maintain seed saving traditions, and the collective effort to produce food in a sustainable way. Several of the hand gestures suggest the act of planting seeds (see detail below) and in conjunction with the imagery on the jars the passing on of the knowledge of planting to future generations. In that sense the seeds jars represent vessels of hope.

One of my advisors pointed out another possible meaning of the hands: in some regions in Brazil, people hang wax-cast body parts on the ceilings of a chapel to pray for healing of certain ailments. I love that image and in that sense, the hands in this piece are a prayer for healing, which works beautifully in the context of the rest of my exhibition.

Updated Feb. 2, 2018. Below is an installation view from my thesis exhibition last year.

FootPrints at JVS Project Space - New York

Two of my prints are on display in New York at the JVS Project Space from Jan. 15 - March 5. They are the two 'Best in Show' award winning pieces at the FootPrint International Exhibition from the Center for Contemporary Printmaking this past summer (not shown in this picture).

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Global Matrix IV

Global Matrix IV is opening next week. Two of my prints are in this exhibition and a detail of one of them made it onto the invitation!