Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gel Transfer Mini Canvases

I was looking for new options for inexpensive and reproducible product options recently, and started playing around with transfer techniques, which I first learned about in intro art during freshman year. I was particularly interested in gel medium transfers, where you use acrylic gel medium to transfer the ink from a toner print-out onto another surface. In class we used it mainly to transfer to other pieces of paper, which seemed slightly pointless, but after poking around on the Internet I got inspired to try it with wood and fabric instead. I found that it works well on gessoed canvases; my preliminary project has been making adorable tiny canvases for a giveaway (more info on that at the end of this post!!)
I start out with a piece of printed image around the size of the canvas or larger. The great discovery of this round of transferring has been that you can use full-color images with no ill effects. I had always been told in class that you could only use black and white Xerox copies, so I was pleased when the color in my transferred drawings came out almost as well as the original watercolor.
I have a lot of gel medium hanging around, so I got to experiment with different weights and styles. For this canvas I've used gloss gel, and applied it in a thinnish coat all over the canvas, then placed the image on top of the gel face down.
Then I burnish the image all over to make sure it sticks, starting from the middle and moving to the outside to reduce air bubbles as much as possible. They tend to introduce holes in the image, which can be interesting but hard to control. 
After the paper dries, I spray the back of the paper with water to saturate it and start to rub off the paper on the outside. The idea is that the ink sticks to the dried gel medium and the paper rubs off. 

Once all the paper is off (which often takes several tries), I paint it over again with gel medium to seal it, and then it's done!
I will probably be offering these on Etsy in the near future, but for now the only way to get one is to purchase a $10 ticket to RAW Artist's Showcase, a spectacular night of art, music and fashion in Boston on September 13th. In order to participate in RAW, artists are obligated to help sell tickets to the event, so I am pleased to offer these canvases to thank you for your support. The retail price of these canvases will be at least $12, so regardless of whether you use your ticket, this preliminary offer is an excellent deal. Canvases are only available to the first 20 people to buy tickets before September 10th, so act soon!

UPDATE (9/01 2:00pm): There are currently only three tickets remaining in the giveaway, so if you're interested in a free map canvas but haven't gotten your ticket yet, now's the time! Thank you everyone for your support!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

First Friday in the South End - August

Last Friday evening I spent several hours in the studios and galleries at the 450 Harrison area of the South End. I came across a surprising number of works that resonated with my interests. Some highlights:

The first maplike works I came across were at Kingston Gallery by Chantal Hardy, in an exhibition called "Current" which was right up my alley. Most of the works they had appeared to be abstracted aerial views of islands, but I was particularly arrested by one piece in which the artist had gone back in and added a framework on top of some of the topography. I have to paste her entire artist statement here because it just sounds so much like my approach:
"A limited palette and a narrow vocabulary of marks in pen and ink on watercolor paper hold infinite possibility. The accretion of tiny, taut tick marks and earth toned dots gives birth to continents and islands, to mountains and shorelines, to highways and harbors. Organic landscapes are bifurcated by cities and geometric, manmade infrastructures. The topography builds itself, like land out of lava, as I scrape the metal nib ad infinitum or allow the pen to linger, bleeding ink into wet paper. This truly is art as an act of creation. Having gone off the map, I am literally making a world."
I wasn't able to find anyone working in the gallery to ask if I could take a photo, and she has none (of that series) online, but I suppose that's her loss.

I also stopped into Soprafina Gallery and was a bit interested in one work by Thaddeus Beal, but my interest was cemented when I started reading about his inspiration and concepts, which apparently include fractals and chaos theory. It reminds me of how Jackson Pollock's works have a fractal structure despite (or perhaps due to?) their intuitive construction. I'll have to keep an eye on this one!

Thaddeus Beal, "Breaking Symmetry", mixed media on wood

I saw some literature outside Rhonda Smith's studio at 450 Harrison that caught my eye. Unfortunately the studio wasn't open during the event, but I'll keep it in mind for Open Studios in the fall. Her work has a lot of intricate, maplike elements, and in fact in part of her artist statement she writes "As I am working I am often thinking of water, webs, tectonic plates, even my recent subway ride: that is, any phenomena that I can map or follow"

Rhonda Smith, "Lands Moving" 2012, oil and pencil on panel

Right when I thought I had seen everything in 450 Harrison, I remembered for the first time in several months that there is actually a fourth floor with artists as well. I wandered into one studio and saw some work I'd never seen before. Apparently the artists had just moved in this spring. I was immediately stopped by a huge painting of an aerial view of Logan by Lynda Michaud Cutrell, from her Google Earth series. Something about the way the building network was depicted was very biological, almost like a small intestine. This worked well with other work in her studio, which included a layered painting of molecules and other biological building blocks. I'd be interested to see if she does any work that combines the two!

Lynda Michaud Cutrell, "From Up Here... Everything Looks Organized"

Friday, August 3, 2012

Satellite Cities

I sketched out this idea about a month ago and didn't get a chance to work on it until now. I'm a little constrained by my materials at the moment but I managed to make enough pieces to give a sense of what an installation would look like.