Please give me some background information on you-how did you become associated with Linda Matney Gallery?
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh and began creating art at a very young age. In fact, it was my nanny, Agnus, who first had the inclination that I was an artist. She told my parents that no other two-year old colored the way I did.
I started with crayons, moved to acrylics, then to watercolor and oil paint. Until college, I assumed that drawing was something one did only before painting a picture. Color and realism were my young artist’s safe haven. Never did I dream I would fall in love with the monotone depth of drawing and the unexpected discovery of feeling and freedom in printmaking. I am still a young artist figuring out the next step of my work, but upon the walls of the Linda Matney Gallery hang “my coming out” body of work of exploratory artistic freedom.
I worked alongside Lee Matney, the owner and curator of the Linda Matney Gallery, in a collaborative visual and creative art project for Adam Stackhouse with the AVAdventure. While on that project I visited the Stryker Art House annex and quickly deduced that Lee’s galleries were unlike any else I had visited in Williamsburg. Lee was curating exhibitions that I wanted my work to be apart of. I thought that my new, innovative body of prints could compliment the contemporary quality and theme of the gallery, and sought an opportunity to exhibit.
Who were the most influential artists for you in the development of your work? What else has influenced you?
Lucian Freud encouraged me to paint the light and breadth of what my eye could see upon a figure. Cezane taught me that I needed to feel what I observed beyond my careful looking. Kathe Kollwitz inspired me that I could, in fact, be a printmaker who began as a painter, and I have always marveled at the works of the Spanish painter, Joan Miro but have yet to put my finger on why.
In addition to these artists, I owe profound thanks for the personal influence that my professors, family, and husband have had on me, by persistently reminding me to drop everything and create.
Please comment on your material and techniques
What I enjoy most about printmaking is its process. The works in the Untitled I show are mostly etchings, created by making marks on a copper plate (covered and not covered by an acid resistant ground) and allowing acid to react and create small wells to hold ink. The ink is placed on and buffed off the plate, then sent through the printing press.
I quickly learned in printmaking, that if I let go of my control in the construction of an image, and allowed the process of printmaking to intervene and dictate my choices, I discovered a richer, more atmospheric image. The unpredictability of printmaking has stretched me greatly as an artist and has challenged me to consider process and reaction in creating art—leading to art that is discovered rather than constructed.
What are some of the landmark pieces in your career?
Summer Roses, a large watercolor painting I did at age 15, received local attention as well as the Scholastic Gold Key award. With the completion of this work I convinced myself I was an artist.
The Appearance Series, including (in order): Image, Appearance, Obscurity, and The James, is my most recent landmark body of work. I derived all four works from the same copper plate. A remnant of the previous image can be found in each successive work. These four prints capture my journey of artistic discovery after college, straying out from the art of direct observation to art that is more deeply felt than seen, and ultimately returning to direct observation—as in The James—with enlightened eyes.
Can you elaborate on the works in the current show at the Linda Matney Gallery? Are these single images or part of a larger series? How do these pieces fit in your body of work?
In several of my works in the Untitled I show, I did not have the end in mind (as I often had in painting) but rather allowed the creation of the final piece to be a discovery. All the works exist as individual pieces, except for the Appearance Series of which I have already spoke.
This body of work, as with much of my previous work, is intended to capture small moments—a professor reclining, the bark on a tree, and the curious up-growing root system of the trees on the James. They strive to beckon the viewer to pause, contemplate, and discover the nuance of beauty found in our world.
Discuss your plans for the future of your career- any immediate plan - what is your ultimate goal?
My lifelong dream is to dedicate my life to the creation of art. There is a deep need placed within me to create art, observe art, and discover how my individual work fits into Art’s greater story.
As far as my immediate plan, I am open for suggestions and opportunities! I am currently transitioning in my career path from working full time with kids with disabilities to creating art full time. I often do commission pieces, from small paintings to murals, as well as freelance for collaborative creative projects. I am currently exhibiting work across Virginia and Pennsylvania and hope to continue to show my work and broaden my artistic community.
My ultimate goal is to devote my lifetime—all the energy, devotion, eyesight and mind I have to my artwork—and then look down and see where my feet are standing.