Friday, July 9, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Lyna Lou Nordstrom and Robert Compton at Art on Main in Bristol

Art on Main announces its July-August 2010 Featured Artist Exhibit, Emerging Textures. The exhibit will be on view in the Gallery through Sunday August 15. Emerging Textures showcases monotypes by Burlington artist Lyna Lou Nordstrom and pottery by Robert Compton of Bristol. Lyna Lou’s one-of-a-kind creations display intense colors and textures using impressions derived from objects from the natural world. Inspired by Jomon pottery, a major focus of Bob’s work is the unique quality of a pot's surface, achieved via the process of wood firing and salt glazing. For both artists the process and journey of creating a piece of artwork is central.

“I have come to understand that life is a journey, not a destination,” says Robert, “and I feel privileged to be making that journey as a potter.” Robert enrolled in the forestry program at the University of Vermont in 1968, and took a class in ceramics in 1969. He began his professional career in clay in 1972. In the 1970's and 1980's his work consisted of unusual objects in clay, and for 20 years he produced unique hanging aquariums and standing fountains. These water-sculptures were sold via hundreds of galleries, as far away as Tokyo. As the markets changed, his work evolved over the years.

Robert’s current work is inspired by ancient Jomon pottery. Jomon is a Japanese word meaning "Cord Pressed.” The texture is derived from rolling a short piece of rope into a freshly made form. Another important element is the quality of a pot's surface, which Robert achieves through the process of wood firing and salt glazing. This exhibit features pots whose surfaces have been naturally “textured” by wood firing and salt glazing—both unaltered clay surfaces and with colored glaze washes, pit firing with flame and minerals, and reduction gas firing which produces variations in the glaze colors. Each pot’s unique look emerges from its particular firing process as well as the touch of the potter’s hands. “Seeing a pot is seeing a moment in a potter’s life,” says Robert. “The potter may make the same shape year after year, but it will not be the same, it will always be changing.”

Each of Lyna Lou’s monotypes or monoprints also captures a series of unique moments in its maker’s life expressed via its own individual process. In 1994 when she had to take a break from producing the hand painted clothing she had been making since the 1970’s, an artist colleague invited her to take a workshop in monotype, a spontaneous, painterly one-of-a-kind printmaking technique. She instantly became obsessed with this kind of printmaking. Her free painting style lent itself to this process. Color again became the distinctive element in her prints. As she developed her style in this new medium, line and energy became just as exciting as color. Her first monotypes were printed with one pass through the press.

A 2006 residency at the Johnson Studio Center allowed her focused time to allow her style to evolve and grow. “Grow it did!” she declares. Tulips appeared in her prints on top of her abstract expressionist backgrounds. In a way her style has now come full circle back to the distillations of natural and floral subjects of her clothing line. Most of her prints now have many layers, going through the etching press multiple times. Natural, collage, and additional drawing or painting elements on the print surface often add to the truly unique quality of each print. With the introduction of silkscreen and solar etching into her repertoire, she hopes to be able to introduce other recognizable imagery into her work and even create “stories.”

The terms monotype and monoprint refer to a form of printmaking whereby an original inked or painted image is transferred from a plate onto paper by means of pressure. Unlike edition printing, each print is a unique work and the final printed image cannot be repeated. One of Lyna Lou’s favorite techniques is to print the “ghost” of ink that is left on the plate to use as the beginning of another print. This gives birth to prints that are like a series because the colors and the energy going into the painting is similar.

Art on Main is open Monday thru Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-3pm.
Images: Pilgrim Salt by Robert Compton, Peeking Through, Lyna Lou Nordstrom