Jonelle Johnson, Cosmic Birds
Recommended by Catherine (Collections Assistant):
Jonelle Johnson uses thinned oil-based ink to layer transparent veils of color and brushstrokes to produce a sense of physical depth and movement in her vibrant monotypes. A great example of this is her piece aptly titled Cosmic Birds. The dynamic texture created by layers of contrasting colors and swirling lines captures the birds' frenetic movements so effectively, viewing the piece ignites a near-synesthetic experience. It feels like the birds are about to jump off the paper and I can hear the cacophony of their calls (which I enjoy as a bird lover). The relatively mellow and cool-toned color palette has a balancing quality which keeps the experience from being too jarring.
Mary Farrell, Identity
Recommended by Paige (Collections Manager):
Mary Farrell's etchings have an amazing precision and texture that make her imagery so visceral. In Identity, Farrell uses harsh contrast to cover the figure's shoulders and neck in highlights but shroud their face in shadows. I find so much mystery in the figure - the lack of context encourages anonymity but the face seems so specific, the pose is generic but hostile or at least uninviting, a cold but honest portrait. The title further mystifies me as I wonder how well I know this person from Farrell's image, or what really makes up an identity.
Mary Farrell, Fragile Security
Recommended by Suzannah (Marketing and Communications Manager):
Mary Farrell is known for her strong and charismatic sketch-like images of hands. In contrast, her etching, “Fragile Security” depicts a grim and delicate bird skeleton, all the parts jumbled but undisturbed, the skull still pristine. The rot and feathers are accompanied by a broken twig with leaves still attached. In the same way that her etchings breathe life and movement into the paper, “Fragile Security” is an end to breath, stillness, rustling in the wind and slowly turning to dust. The haunting image tells a quiet story of life and death, ending in peace and rest.
Christie Tirado, La Catrina
Recommended by Nikki (Fine Print Photographer & Content Publisher):
Christie Tirado, a contemporary artist and daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, brings a number of traditional Mexican heritage hallmarks to her contemporary screenprint. In ‘La Catrina’, Tirado elegantly combines hand-mixed colors that make the much larger than life Lotería card pop. She also carefully references a Día de los Muertos icon, while also giving a nod to the original creator and printmaker, José Posada, who created la Catrina as a dig on the wealthy upper class of Mexico. Lotería is popular all across Mexico today, but was initially brought to Mexico by Spanish colonizers and mostly played by the elite class. By combining a popular icon with a popular game, Tirado has crafted a stunning image that pulls from deep historical roots.
Edmund Blampied, Below Stairs
Recommended by Rebecca (Gallery Manager):
Edmund Blampied’s masterful drypoint “Below Stairs” shows a wonderful familiarity between a chef and a maid in a British household. The somewhat unkempt chef stands with his hands in his pockets and a cigarette hanging from his mouth as the maid listens intently, leaning on a broom. Between their feet stands a kitty asking politely for attention. The warmth of the drypoint adds to the overall mood of this vignette. Printed in the 1930’s, this image pays homage to the end of the era of upstairs-downstairs dynamics in the late aristocracy and wealthy family households.