Printmaking has a built-in element of surprise because the image on the paper is always the reverse of what the artist creates on the plate. I improvise a lot, so there is a constant give-and-take between my intentions and the results of each pass through the press. Chance is my partner in creation, and our collaboration allows the work to move beyond close observation of nature to create its own hypnotic reality of quiet intensity.
I have a broad knowledge of art history. Some of the works I return to again and again are the northern Renaissance painters and printmakers, Rembrandt, the German Expressionists, Cezanne, the Surrealists, and Jim Dine's botanical drawings and prints. Above all, I admire the Chinese literati painters of the 11th century to the present for their cerebral and imaginative approach to the landscape. I practice other related Chinese and Japanese art forms: Chinese calligraphy, qi gong, Sogetsu School ikebana, and haiku writing. All contribute to my understanding of line, space, time, and intuition.
Every day in my studio is an adventure. I look forward to discovering where each new pass through the etching press, like a fork in the road, will lead.
The Larrabee Suite
Larrabee, located on the shores of Samish Bay in Bellingham, is the oldest state park in Washington. Its beaches are graced with intricately eroded formations of Chuckanut sandstone. The stone has frozen waves, sensuous curves, intricate folds, and masses of honeycombed indentations. This ongoing series of prints examines areas of the cliffs up close. These abstract compositions are a springboard for explorations of scale, form, color, and mark-making techniques. Often the results have a monumental quality, even though they originate in close attention to small details.
The smaller prints are also building blocks for the larger Larrabee compositions. In this context, they become visual vocabulary units, which I combine, overlap, rotate, mask, etc. to create more complex statements. The harmony and synergy of these prints in combination delights and fascinates me.
As a sometime poet and word puzzler, I was pleased to read in the dictionary that
"suite" not only means "a group of things forming a unit or constituting a collection" and "a modern instrumental composition in several movements of different character," but also "a collection of minerals or rocks having some characteristic in common (as type or origin)." I pay homage to all three meanings in the Larrabee Suite.
©2016 Sheila Sondik. All rights reserved.