Mar. 13, 2013 - Issue #908: In Your Face
Navigating the negative
A pair of graduation shows explore what lies inbetween
When Matthias creates her massive woodblock prints, which feature impressionistic patterns evoking the vessels that run through leaves, seeds or those that run beneath our own skin, she actually works in reverse—cutting away at the negative space.
"It's a very old technique," Matthias explains. "It dates 500 years-plus since the first wood engravings were done in Europe and the far East. So there's a lot of tradition there. But it's a very straightforward way of working; it's a very physical way of working. For me, it's definitely an outlet. Working on these pieces it's [a] very fast and energetic way of getting these images into a piece of wood."
These large-scale pieces are balanced by smaller prints drawn from copper etchings that reflect just as clearly her background as a biologist and her interest in the delicacies of the environment's complex construction.
While Matthias's project explores the possibilities of a traditional medium in a contemporary context, Creighton uses the relatively new world of digital art to focus the viewer on "the silences, the spaces, the moments that pass between us when we encounter an other."
"The idea of negative space became an interesting way to think of the spaces between us," says Creighton. "In terms of not just the physical space, but the social, psychological space between people and how we experience that space."
Surrounded by video screens that loop images that draw the viewer's attention not to the subject, but to the distance between two subjects or the viewer and the piece itself, Creighton hopes people will leave the exhibit with a heightened awareness of how we interact with each and how we know each other.
These master's theses shows for the two graduate students at the University of Alberta consist of strong pieces that summarize months, if not years, of artistic investigation—both drawing the eye to the details of this world that are in between and rarely seen.
Works by Lisa Matthias
the space between us
Works by Alysha Creighton
Until Sat, Mar 23
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