So it hasn’t hit me yet, but my two major projects for exhibition – The Collograph in Miniature and Pervasive Plastic – are now up and ready for viewing! They were just installed this morning.
A little backstory – last summer, Wendi Turchan, who’s an art lecturer at UW-Fond du Lac, asked me if I’d like to show at the UW’s gallery(ies). WOULD I?!?! What an honor!! I’ve had work in university shows before, but never a solo exhibit (much less two)! She said I could do one or both of the galleries. Because it seemed (keyword: seemed) so far away at the time, I said, SURE! Why not?
As is oftentimes the case for me, I began planning right away. I knew I wanted to incorporate printmaking, as I had just procured my first etching press (yes, there have been more since). I had another idea for the other show, and it was in the works until late December. EEK. I thought I had it all figured out and would begin working on it in December, after all my other projects and classes were finished.
Well, I did indeed begin working on the projects in December – before, actually – but as is ALSO the case, the shows began to be tweaked here and there. New ideas were forming, which happens to me a lot when I begin working on a project in earnest. It’s also maddening, though, because these grandiose ideas have to stop somewhere!! I had to start really working!
It was when I embraced my love of miniature work that my big show started coming together in a great way. I love working small so much, but have always felt bad about it -like if I work small, then I’m not a true fine artist. Feh! I should stop thinking that way. So I did! I made 48 tiny collographs, which consisted of a monoprint base (made with a tiny Plexiglas plate!), and then these plates on top of that:
(Plus many more – I wound up making around 70 of these!)
Here’s one of my 48 collographs, all finished and framed:
I made this one with a yellow-y monoprint, and a collograph plate made with plaster fabric. 🙂
My other show, Pervasive Plastic, started to form long before my Collograph in Miniature show. Way back in October or November, I put out a call for some “Chairman Bob” plastic bags (those in the Midwest might remember these bags from the Roundy’s/Pick n’ Save grocery stores a while back). I got an awesome response! So I began making mandalas from these plastic bags and other styles, like the ubuquitous “thank you have a nice day” bags, Target bags, and some from a pet store, supplied by my friend Carolyn. They’re quite large – larger than anything else I’ve ever worked on! But even larger still is a “tree” that I created using a large branch that split from our ash tree in our yard and long strips of plastic bags that I’d cut. Here’s the tree, in all of its plasticky glory – it’s over 7 feet tall!
One HUGE lesson I learned throughout this entire process? Perseverance. There were many hurdles I encountered during my work time: moving my mom to assisted living, being sick for a week (like everyone else in our city!), taking my mom to the ER and her landing in the hospital for a week, and having our beloved Pomeranian, Dudley, pass away a little over two weeks ago. But you just have to keep going, don’t you? If anything, the work was a perfect panacea to the other things happening around me. It’s the first time I’ve ever created work that was site-specific, the first time I’d ever worked in a large series (and I LOVE IT!), and the first time I’d ever created a large 3-D piece. I don’t know how I’m going to top this show, but I’m surely going to do my best to try. 🙂
As I close, here are some shots of the show set-up from today! 🙂 I have to give a MAJOR shout-out to my wonderful husby, Brian, who was a tremendous help in the installation today – a laser level is a GODSEND, and he’s so good with measuring! And Wendi Turchan created all of my labels and worked the lighting, and printed my posters for me!! I couldn’t have done this without them! 🙂