After many years, 3 women printmakers Helen Tory (Essex, MA), Sissy Buck (Cumberland Foreside, ME) and Mary Arthur Pollak (Ipswich & Newburyport, MA) welcomed the opportunity to reconnect and exhibit their recent work at the Essex Art Center.
All 3 artists are directly influenced by their surroundings and work in monotypes, pulling their unique prints from a traditional printing press. But that is where the similarities end. Over the years, each artist has found a preferred monotype technique and materials that best express her particular vision.
Sissy; abstractions of personal notes using paper lithography and trace drawings reflect past and new conversations in her artist's books. Mary; carborundum prints, abstract expressions of her coastal surroundings. Helen; painterly prints capturing moments in nature.
Firenze Rocks is part of a body of work that began in 2007 when I started working on the large painting, Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment: Water to Blood, completed in 2008. This painting is based on someone I saw completely wrapped in rags early in the morning on the Paris Metro in July of 2006. In the process of working I needed to seat the figure and decided upon a large rock. From that point to the present Rocks have appeared in all of my work.
Having always been enamored with Florence (Firenze) and the Renaissance, when I began to spend weeks each year in Firenze, from the winter of 1998 when I was first there on sabbatical, one aspect that intrigued me were the massive stones used to make the Palazzi and various walls. I began first photographing and doing quick sketches of certain rocks with no other intentions. When large rocks began to appear in my work in 2006, that summer I began, in earnest, to draw these rocks. I go out early in the morning with my drawing supplies and find one that interests me. I then sit down in front of it and draw. Each takes about 4-5 hours to complete and sometimes additional work in studio.
Six of these drawings are in this show. I had intended to eventually create prints of some of these, and in the Winter of 2015 I met the amazing Printmaker and Artist, Markus Haala. I discussed my desires with Markus and he showed me a new machine he had just installed in his workshop - a Laser etcher. I subsequently created high resolution scans of six of the drawings, bit-mapped these down to lines, and we cut these on his laser etcher.
Having always been in love with Yukio-e Woodcuts, my plan was to create these six prints as a melding of ancient and the cutting-edge, woodcutting processes. We sourced the wood for the prints in Japan. I then spent many weeks hand cutting around the initial etchings...The whole process of creating the 12 plates took about 6 months.