Marcy Baker at Mary Lou Zeek Gallery

Mary Lou Zeek Gallery presents:

In the Garden
11 acrylic paintings with collage by
Marcy Baker

June 5 – June 30th, 2007
Mary Lou Zeek Gallery
335 State Street, Salem, Oregon

Late Winter

Above, Late Winter, acrylic and collage by Marcy Baker

We asked Marcy to talk a little bit about her work, and to give us a ‘mini tour’ of her monotype printing process, and here’s what she says:

Inspiration is found in the rhythms of my neighborhood and in graceful relationships between natural and man-made structures.

Relief printing blocks are hand cut in Victorian-era textile designs and traditional Celtic motifs. Stencils are inspired by seventeenth century chintz fabrics, as well as my own botanical drawings. Using these and other tools – anything that will create interesting marks and texture – I apply acrylic paint or oil based printing ink in overlapping patterns, an influence from my background in fabric design. Many layers are built up in this way, with each layer informing the next, and much of what is painted is eventually covered up – but its presence is integral to the final piece. Collage elements – added in between and on top of the layers – include architectural and botanical line drawings from my backyard, and relief prints using the same blocks that have been stamped into the paint. I also draw into the surface with charcoal and graphite – I like the juxtaposition of random, intuitive mark making with orderly repeat patterns.

When engaged in my neighborhood I feel an intriguing play of comfort and anticipation. This balance is what I seek in my work.

And on making monotypes, she adds:

I pulled my first monotype fifteen years ago and was hooked – spontaneous, colorful, immediate – creating monotypes is great fun.

To prepare for a new series of prints, stencils are designed using botanical drawings from my neighborhood and backyard garden, and with inspiration from seventeenth century chintz fabrics and Victorian-era textile designs. I also carve printing blocks in similar motifs, and create relief plates by drawing on foam sheets. I use these tools to build many thin layers of oil based ink on a Plexiglas plate before making one transfer to paper with an etching press. Interesting marks and texture appear when a printing block is lifted off the Plexiglas plate. Mysterious things happen when ink is inadvertently transferred to the plate from the back of a stencil.

After a print is pulled there is a ghost of that image left on the plate’s surface that I incorporate into the composition of the following piece. This can create lovely contrasts as the plate is reworked with some areas left untouched, revealing fragments of history from the previous image.

For my most recent monotype series I began by first making quick line drawings on the plate with litho crayon, then building layers of ink on top of the drawings. I also add collage elements to the print once it is pulled and dried – mostly these are line drawings inspired by my colorful and lively backyard. I like the juxtaposition of intuitive mark making against the repeat patterns created by stencils and printing blocks.

For more information about Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, see http://www.zeekgallery.com/.

To see more of Marcy’s work, see http://www.marcybaker.com/.

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