Artwork by Ann Conrad. On display December 18, 2014 - February 9, 2015.
Digital “seeing” is the starting point in Ann Conrad’s new work. She begins with a traditional landscape scene--apainting, monotype, or photograph--and then zeroes in on a small section.This section is then blown up on the computer until pixelated. The resulting vibrant pixelated patterns, especially those derived from images of water, are particularly fertile ground for Conrad. Thus begins the transformation from obvious landscape to seeming abstraction.
The printed pieces in this exhibit were created using multiple solar intaglio and relief plates. The larger prints are made from four solar platesrotationally printed in varying sequences and colors, and worked on by hand after the printing is complete. The pieces are, in a musical sense, variations on a theme. In Conrad’s art, the line between printmaking and painting is blurred because she “finishes” the prints by painting or drawing on them and incorporates printed elements in the layers of the oil paintings. This touch of the hand is very important to her; it emphasizes the human element in these works inspired by digital seeing.
Conrad’s prints and paintings operate within a system of seemingly abstract grids, and many would perceive them as purely abstract. They are, however, grounded in the tradition of landscape painting—Conrad still considers herself to be a landscape painter. “The works all wrestle with the contrast between imperfect geometry inherent in that which is made by hand and the predictable, perfect pixel grid of the computer,” says Conrad. “The cross-pollination of the photography, printmaking, and painting has allowed me to see, think about, and to call attention to technology’s ability to alter and enhance our visual reality and to contemplate what it means in this age of digital technology (with its repeatable algorithms) to still be made by hand.”
--Cindy MacCollum and Gwen North Reiss, curators