April Issue 2000
Osmosis Woodcut Show Opens at Blue Pony Gallery in Charlotte, NC
The Blue Pony Gallery and Press, located in the heart of the historic NoDa Art District of Charlotte, NC, will present an exhibit entitled, Against the Grain, from Apr. 21 through May 27. This exhibit will consist of original woodcut images hand-pulled by six well known South Carolina painters who have formed a collaborative group known as "Osmosis."
This showing is the first for the group in North Carolina since they joined forces south of the border in early 1998. It incorporates the work of group members Eileen Blyth, Eleanor Craig, Michael Dickins, Jeff Donovan, Tom Ogburn and Laura Spong. All are primarily painters except for Dickins, who is a post-modern photographer. Individual pieces reflect the styles of each of the members, varying from representational works through symbolism to abstract expressionism.
"When we formed Osmosis we decided that the inaugural show for the group needed to have a strong personality as well as visual unity," says Tom Ogburn. "The woodblock print has incredible character. We can all flex our own stylistic muscles and remain in tune visually by the nature of the medium."
"Printmaking has a very strong focus in my gallery," explains Mary Lou Sussman, "I am always looking for work that pushes the boundaries of modern printmaking and is also experimental. What I particularly like is when someone really respects the traditions of the medium yet brings a very controversial point of view to the process. This group has done exactly that, and the results are wonderful examples of the printmaker's art."
Some of the artists have combined individual prints into groupings, collage or series which further the impact of the medium. "This show chronicles different artists coming to the medium with their own perspective," notes Sussman. "The different nature of each artist is evidenced in their individual work, while the unity and focus of their group effort is beautifully realized."
Many of the woodcut blocks used to create the prints will be included in the show. This will allow the viewer to trace the process in which the works were done, and see a part of the working nature of woodcut methodology.
"This will also illustrate how an artist can bend the rules; how you can augment the images, as Jeff Donovan does," says Sussman. "I really like observing the tradition but not seeing the work stifled by that same tradition. I particularly love woodcuts. I love the quality of the wood, the behavior of the wood; the way the wood prints. I also like the fact that wood is not easy to use - this is reflected in the nature of the finished piece."
Sussman explains that, "This is why we have the printmaking studio here. When you visit our space you just may come as someone is in the process of pulling a print - the act of creation."
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