Sanford Gallery @ ZMP

Fine Lines and Shadows: New Prints by Nancy Diessner and Victoria Burge

Nancy Diessner, photopolymer intaglio

Nancy Diessner, photopolymer intaglio

January 12, 2007 – February 16, 2007

Both Diessner and Burge created new work for this exhibition. Diessner is Associate Professor and Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at Chester College of New England in New Hampshire. Her work is in major collections in the US. Her current work explores the new processes of photopolymer intaglio. Diessner’s photo based images of humans and animals explore the common ground between the species. Victoria Burge lives and works in western Massachusetts. Over the past month she has been at an artists residency program in northern Vermont working on a series of encaustic paintings entitled,” The Names of Things”. Her etchings combine a childlike naiveté with a darker, edgier feel to create images that haunt and entice.

States Diessner: “I’m always trying to get to something–an image, a color, a feeling–that seems honest and real to me. My work begins with a photographic image–an image of something in the world. But that’s just the beginning; I then put the image through various processes, working to transform it into something more emotionally expressive. Transformations come about in several different ways: sometimes they’re created through deliberate action, sometimes through the very nature of a particular printing process, and sometimes through pure accident. What is consistent is that I’m always looking for that point when what is photographically real remains in the image only as a memory, and the image finds a new life and vitality–a new reality–through the lines, colors, gestures, scrapes, and textures that are layered over that memory. The work for this show at Zea Mays is primarily photopolymer multi-plate prints. The images in the prints are dogs and humans, sometimes alone and sometimes together. What matters to me in the prints is what that subject matter is trying to express. In this case, these prints are really about breathing and about longing–the eternal saudades– something shared in different measure by humans and by beasts. ”

Burge writes, “Printmaking is a new medium for me, and therefore, much of my work is the result of fortuitous mistakes. Luckily, I enjoy the crackle of broken lines, the noisy tones of roughly wiped plates, and the scratches and bites that develop from missing a primary step. There is a clumsiness that comes with being a beginner. Yet, there is also something delicate. It is a precious place, as it is fleeting. Very quickly one learns the right tools and materials to use, as well as, the results of different processes; one develops an order to one’s method, and the ways to do it better. However, in the halcyon moments of being a novice, one is permitted to be awkward. There is a freedom in this. The ego is a bit more forgiving; and the work that comes of it, although often not what one expects, is consistently exciting and informative. My most recent etchings explore my unknowing. What has evolved is a tremendous amount of learning and a collection of simple, often child-like prints each with an air of darkness, a sense of humor, and a bit of hope.”

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