Storytelling is as old as mankind. Artisan Gallery, 6858 Paoli Road, Belleville, showcases storytelling through the visual arts in a solo exhibit, “Small Stories and Adventures” by Mary Hood, and in a group show, “Narrative.”
A third show In the Cooler at Artisan Gallery is a solo exhibit of ceramic sculptures by Ryan Myers, titled “False Idols.” All three shows opened June 3 and will run until July 17.
Animals personify human demeanor and present-day affairs in “Small Stories and Adventures.” Hood’s artwork integrates hints of political and social issues that are of imminent concern.
Hood used several processes, including aquatint, colle’, photogravure and laser-engraved wood relief, to create her prints in “Small Stories and Adventures.” She also incorporated handmade papers and watercolor in some pieces.
With the aquatint method, a plate is prepared by applying irregular grains of acid-resistant material, heating it to adhere the grains, and treating it with an acid. The resulting rough surface holds ink and creates tones in etchings. Colle’ is a technique where a thin piece of paper is passed through a press to collage it onto a heavier paper.
Crown Point Press of San Francisco explains the photogravure method on its www.magical-secrets.com website as “A method of etching an image into a plate using a light-sensitive gelatin ground. The image may come from a photograph or a drawing or printout on transparent material like Mylar. An aquatint, or sometimes a halftone screen, is added to the plate to provide tooth. An image made by photogravure etches to varying depths in the plate.”
Laser engraved wood is rolled with ink to create relief prints. This modern process evolved from artists using an engraver’s burin to create more delicate lines than woodcarving tools, such as knives, could.
As an associate professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, Hood teaches intaglio and digital processes for printmaking. She is originally from Milwaukee. Her artwork has been widely exhibited both in the U.S. and abroad.
“Narrative” brings together works from some of Artisan Gallery’s best storytellers. Theresa Abel, Randall Berndt, Jessica Calderwood, Stephanie Craig, Gerit Grimm, Kelli Hoppmann, Debbie Kupinsky, and Gregory Schulte share tales in a variety of mediums. The exhibit includes paintings, ceramics, graphite drawings and jewelry.
Myers is inspired by the Aztec and Incan cultures. His ceramic sculptures redefine modern culture’s explanation of ancient objects in “False Idols.” While the sculptures embrace ancient culture, he has reimagined them with contemporary social context.
Myers lives in Madison and has his art studio in Fitchburg.
— Robyn Norton