By Rose Fredrick
In her site-specific installation of monotypes now showing at Goodwin Fine Art, (Nov 16-Jan 6), Marcia Weese brings together an eclectic ensemble of subjects from birds to clothespins, wishbones, and milk pails. Though seemingly disparate at first glance, there is a subtle connection: utility and the need for change. The birds are either taking flight or have just left the branch, leaving but a ghosted image behind; clothes swing from a line, drying in the afternoon sun; everyday objects, often overlooked, are transformed into giant icons of the quotidian. It is within this body of work, this place of change, of transformation, really, that Weese’s imagery goes beyond mere impressions of her subjects and dives headlong into the personal aspects of her life.
Weese, who grew up in Chicago, was exposed at an early age to a wide range of art and architecture, particularly that of the Japanese culture. She cites as an influence in her work and life the book “Wabi Sabi,” the happy accident. This notion of the “perfectly imperfect” in all of life is one that guides her approach to creativity. Formally trained as an abstract sculptor, Weese had a successful career in Chicago creating monumental installations. When she and her artist-husband and their son moved across country to Santa Fe in the 80s, it was a happy accident that changed her course in art. She signed up for a workshop in printmaking at Hand Graphics, thinking it might offer a new perspective. That experience did something more: it transformed her way of thinking and creating. She quit sculpting and started on a journey that has since taken her in search of master printers across the country, each offering their own expertise and style, all helping her bring forth her own language of artistic expression.
Weese works in the form of printmaking known as "monotype," where the artist paints with printer’s inks on a glass plate, then, when the image is complete, a damp piece of paper is laid across the surface and the whole thing is run through a press, creating, as a result, a single or “mono” print. Often a favorite choice of printmaking for artists, because of the spontaneity and speed at which one generally works on the glass plate, Weese has forged her own version of the process that incorporates the reductive ideas she used in sculpting. Essentially, she coats the glass in the lightest colored ink, then scrapes away to form the start of an image. That first layer of ink is then run through the press. She continues to add layers of color to the plate, scraping them off in areas and running the plates through the press, building a completed work, sometimes requiring five to ten pulls.
Because she likes to work large and enjoys texture, Weese has been experimenting with painting on board. The resulting images are the most monochromatic in the show and appear to spring forth from the natural wood grain. In this respect, the wood is more than background ‘noise’; it is a defining character, an integral design element.
Placed throughout the gallery in groupings of like objects and strung along the walls, much like it’s been hung on a clothes line, this body of work has a ‘mix-and-match’ sense to it, as if the viewer could come in and reshuffle the layout to create his or her own personal storyline, kind of like rearranging poetry magnets on the fridge until you’ve found the perfect reflection of who you are in that one fleeting moment. Taken metaphorically, there is a sense to this show of rebirth, of moving into a new stage of life, which is exactly where the artist finds herself these days. Weese, whose son is now grown and married with newborn twins—perhaps the inspiration for the laundry series—is herself divorced, and divides her time between a studio on the western slope and a home and studio in Boulder.
The only thing that might catch patrons off guard is that most of the work has not been framed, but instead is either hanging from an actual line with clothes pins, while other works have been mounted on Japanese silk. Very little is under glass. On the one-hand, it’s nice to see works on paper without glass getting in the way; however this means that patrons are expected to take on the task of framing any piece they purchase. Extending the utilitarian theme in this non-traditional approach, Weese has taken a chance, hoping, we are to assume, that buyers will appreciate the work as it is and prefer the opportunity to have it framed as they see fit.
Pairings opens November 16 and runs through January 5, 2013. Goodwin Fine Art is located at 1255 Delaware, in the Golden Triangle. For more information call 303-573-1255.