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2010 Hot Print Show

In my studio,  I usually think in terms of  mini-narratives and metaphors. The formal elements come later, after I begin to work on an image.Leaving specific information out helps make the images more open to the viewer. The finished image may not have the same associations or meanings for viewers, but it might.

Recently I've been venturing into Textille Art, using print processes on cotton rather than paper. This has been really fun, I'm interested to see how far I can go with it--
I respond to both my physical location and the environment of ideas. Expressing contrasts, making comparisons and weaving dichotomies into the meanings of images. I combine traditional and non-traditional techniques, hand-coloring, collage and chine colle.
 According to my mom,  I was found drawing naked women after a visit to a museum at the age of five. When mom asked why I  replied, "That’s what you’ve got to do to get into a museum”. Still working often with the nude in large monotypes, I  work valiantly towards  my museum goal.

Lately,  l find myself moving away from the figure exploring rhythm, texture color and pattern. I integrate monotype, relief and pronto plate techniques with collage, watercolor, metal leaf, sewing and paper cutting to create mixed media pieces and accordion books.  Some piece are abstractions while the more playful images with animals are inspired by my work as a childrens' art teacher.  A year spent in Southeast Asia also served as a source of inspiration. 

I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas in Art Education and haved worked for many years as an art educator in both classrooms and art institutions. I was a guest artist at Taller Grafica Rueca in Mazatlan and I animated segments for Richard Linklater’s feature, "Waking Life”.  My work has been shown  in various group shows in North America and I have been featured in two person shows in Canada. Solo shows include the  Carriage House Gallery and PINK in Austin, Texas.

When not rolling a brayer, I might be found with a guitar in hand, writing songs, performing or just having a hootennany with friends.

Veronica Ceci is an artist, Master Printer, independent curator and educator living in Austin, TX. Her work has recently been featured in exhibitions at The Manhattan Graphics Center in NYC, The Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX and Werkstadt in Berlin, Germany.
I create abstract woodblock prints to investigate and respond to the visual, tactile, and experiential world. I make these works by carving marks into wood that is then rolled with ink. The inked impression is transferred to paper by rubbing with a wooden spoon. Each layer of color builds a surface that is both planned and accidental. Printing and carving occur in stages—I cut back into the same blocks over and over again through time. In this way, as the print is created, the blocks are destroyed. I view the process of relief printmaking as a metaphor exposing the gaps between the physical, the imagined, and what we perceive as the "seen” reality.

My imagery resides in this gap between visual impressions and the conjuring of names or descriptions. This gap is what separates the familiar from the unknown and is where I try to situate each work. I juxtapose the sensual and visceral against the spiritual and symbolic and create realms where the sacred and profane exist in tandem. To accomplish this, I obfuscate, deconstruct, reassemble, and transform visuals culled from my perceptions of both organic and man-made environments, dreams, memories, and learned or imagined myths.

I aim to discover images that deliberately set on edge the associations we bring to forms. In other words, I use forms that might mean many things, have several names, or be both whimsical and terribly dark at the same time. Since the process of constructing narratives is fluid, active, and personal, each viewer completes the work, bringing his or her own associations to bear in how to decipher each piece. It is in this open space—this stream of ever-changing perceptions, before mental categorization and verbal assignments—where we discover how to bridge what we see with what we know.

October 31, 2011... I am about to edition the eighth image for my "White Flower Suite” which I began in February 2011.   The first four were included in "It’s in the Fine Print” exhibition at Brackenwood Gallery, Langley WA.   The flowers were from botanical watercolor studies that I have painted over the years.  Most were never completed and ended up in a drawer until I saw that I had quite a bit of useful information to use in etching!

I was introduced to printmaking in 1996. I was invited by Island International Artists, Anacortes WA to take an etching workshop taught by print artist, Richard Stauffacher.  I discovered that etching gives my work the look I’d been searching for; a medium that combines the precision of drawing, the transparency of watercolor and the richness of oil paint.  I love the process of printmaking and bought a press and set up my own print studio in 1998.

I strive for Magritte's basic intention, to make art with a "disturbing poetic effect."ť My work presents exotic subjects in the drama of black and white, or the subtle monochromatic tones of printers' inks. The prints are based on my photos of real places and slightly mysterious objects that are embraced by a post-apocalyptic anxiety, which induces a state of psychological unease in the viewer. The images raise questions, but knowing the back story doesn't necessarily provide comfort. The result is by turns intimate, earthy, fragile, universal, and contemporary. The images are full of the organic subtlety showing the naked beauty of weathered rock and plants, contrasted with man-made architectural elements. The organic elements complement the man-made. In purely aesthetic terms, the works use an interplay of tones and textures, with formal qualities of composition in the arrangements of objects under the viewer's gaze. The unfamiliar induces a state of ambiguity mixed with a strange longing or nostalgia. The camera captures temporal events, figurative and narrative, fragments in the cycle of life and death. History is revealed in multiple layers with an underlying order and inherent drama exposed in contrast and detail, painterly and sculptural at the same time.

My work celebrates the spirit of the people and places I have encountered. Whether this is represented through color, choice of line carved, etched, molded, drawn or painted through the conscious use of mark making via time honored traditions of printmaking techniques, I am interested in honoring the subject. So much is required in developing an image; it serves as a meditative device. The push and pull during the creation process is part intuitive, reactionary, and peace maker.
I find myself combining the past and present on a routine basis in my work. How may I provide the viewer with a snapshot that encapsulates people, place, time? How may I engage the visceral response of the audience? The stories I have been witness to, the beauty I have encountered and the decay of the previously celebrated: all find a home in my heart and art. My work has been described as"visual haiku.

I discovered printmaking relatively late in life when I took my first printmaking class in 2001. I like the process and the surprises inherent in printmaking. I am continually amazed that I am able to overcome the mess and the dirt that are part of printmaking, but I like the creativity the process brings about. 
I often use my own handmade paper for my printmaking, and I love how the unique characteristics of the paper influence the final print. I am also a gardener, and this is perhaps why I like to use images that appear in nature in my artwork (and in some ways my art is an extension of my gardening). 

The Work of Natalya Kochak
The Bruised Fruit Series -
The people in the 'Bruised Fruit' paintings are fragile, but tough. They are beautiful, but their beauty is intimately bound to thier travails. Each has a multitude of stories to tell, stories of fatigue, struggle, love, joy, dissapointment, and sometimes a life's worth of hard times.
In 'Bruised Fruit', I am creating a population of individuals. Together, they become a narrative. When displayed together each one is looking at another, some looking out to the viewer. I capture a precise moment in time, the casual gesture or sideways glance of an individual. Each piece is linked, a different dynamic every time depending on how the works are arranged and who is seeing them. The viewer becomes part of the population, creating a living communication that reverberates between the pieces. A social situation is created, in which each person or the essence of each person is singular yet working within a community.
A Temporal Slice Series -
My second series, 'A Temporal Slice', takes the idea of movement and communication a step further. The very large paintings are typical crowd senes, and yet the human figures are translucent, suggesting our temporary, ephemeral existence. What is more, you see the faces but you can't remember them. The activity and the connections are what matter.
Landscapes -
I use my silkscreen method to translate and capture various landscape scenes. Though I am not averse to panoramic views, my landscapes typically focus on small, intimate settings. A grouping of trees or a dry river bed are sights that we habitually regard as commonplace. Familiarity allows us to forget the awe striking nature and depth of each glimpse the eye takes in, and it is that which I capture in my abstract landscape scenes.
I do not think when I paint. Instead, my perferred medium - watercolor - tells me a story about the subject and records a page in that character, crowd, or setting's history. I use watercolors in the same way a sculptor used wood or stone. Using a wet-on-wet technique that is very unpredictable, I am under no illusion that I control the paint, but rather, I coax and persuade until the featurs and the story emerge.
The medium is not a tool to create that which I have envisioned. Instead, I use watercolors to discern and liberate the image already concealed in the indistinct, shapeless film of paint, creating layers, one upon the other, to reveal form. The luxurious yet fragile quality of watercolors creates a voluptuous look that is almost marbleized when the paint is layered in this way. I combine the gouache and watercolor within a monoprint or a silkscreen for the same controlled, but unpredictable, effect.
I am a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. One of my major influences has been contemporary artist Glenn Brown who, "captures the subtle expression of the original and mimics the sumptuous texture of its surface." Other influences are the character studies and techniques of Ivan Albright, Egon Schiele, Marlene Dumas, Kiki Smith, Arnulf Rainer,  Oskar Kokoshka, Otto Dix,Kathe Kollwitz, and Andrew Wyeth.

I was living in New Mexico when a fortuitous requirement of printmaking coursework for my graduate program in art therapy led me to expression in another medium. Since that time I have been exploring printmaking and creating soft ethereal-like inspirational images. The circle or circular movement can often be seen in my artwork. The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning--a continuous symbol that has no beginning and no end. Throughout my life I have created circles, benefiting from the sense of comfort, peace, and total integration.

How I feel when I am making art is perfectly described in what Don Miguel Ruiz says: "When you are in your creation and you are doing what you love to do, you become what you really are again. You are not thinking in that moment; you are expressing.” I love being in that space where I am not really thinking, I am expressing what I am feeling inside. One could say that I make art to please the eye and touch the soul.

My current body of work is based on diseased tissue of the heart, lung and liver tissues. I use this imagery to explore the negative and positive aspects of mutation at a cellular lever, and how it is both destructive and innovative. I break the imagery down into simple, formal, fundamental shapes to create cellular elements which become the tools of my drawing practice. With the development of electron microscopy, I imagine to possess the same filter when choosing the color and composition of my prints. I attach lighting elements to create the experience of looking though a microscope and to add life to the produced tissue samples. Depending on what emotion I want to represent, the imagery will either be a simple composition to emphasize the basic organic growth of life or a very chaotic scene to display stress and tension. I use repetition to give an identity to the cells and the importance of each one's placement.

Imbued with ritual, the heirloom is more than just an object. It is the accumulation of experience and memories associated with a person, or even a whole family. My work plays with the instability and impermanence of memory. Memory is not always truthful. The heirloom is also a marker of a significant person’s passing. The means of acquiring the object, through the loss of someone significant, creates tension between the person receiving the object and the object, itself. The various pieces that I have made play with the conventions of loss, how we remember, and how we make objects gain significance through history and our desire.

The pieces have a sense of history and of belonging to a group; yet, all the pieces are not traditional heirlooms. For example, Rolodex: Abell-Ongoing, is a rolodex which explores work issues, using sewing. It tries to transform the ordinary into heirloom, using an heirloom’s vocabulary. Each card is an attempt at creating a deeply personal object, which both enchants and discomforts. In Points of Origin, the viewer is confronted with a row of childlike homes. Within each house, the sound of names, births, and marriages are repeated over and over. The nostalgic sensibility engages the viewer in both historical and personal contemplations. Both projects preamble many relevant questions with regard to human relationships: How much do we know about people, how do we categorize one another, and how do our relationships and imagined perceptions affect the way we relate to both the objects and to one another? These heirlooms are instable and fleeting, despite attempts at permanence. The heirloom is transformed into an object that always describes and always indicates absence.

Figurative work, always a passion, has become the focus of this recent body of work. Combined with mythology, the use of symbols and mythological creatures such as mermaids, I create a classical context for contemporary treatments of the figure.

I am drawn to many aspects of printmaking. I’ve always liked texture and variety of printmaking papers, the smell and colors of the inks, and the fact that you can do multiples. There is something about the transformation that happens from the plate to the paper and the effects you can get that’s just magical.
I have a fascination with nature and I love collecting seeds, bones, and oddities I find in the streets. These often inspire ideas along with images I dream. The evolution of those ideas through drawing and the solar intaglio printmaking process is challenging but exciting. Imagination plays a big part in the formation of images and I find it satisfying when it all comes together.
I enjoy creating art from life. I feel that we are the sum of our experiences and that each moment is an opportunity to become something more. I think we should cherish the mundane, the every day, and the daily routines as they are the root of our personality, the fundamental base of who we are, and which contain the most comfortable moments of our lives.
Aside from subject matter I like to blur the border of media. I felt I had reached a peak in my drypoint line drawings. I have always been drawn to charcoal; the softness of the tone; the fragility of the medium. At any moment the marks could be blown or rubbed off the paper. I felt it would be a great achievement to create a reproducible print which captured the very essence of charcoal. Working with hand tools only using roulettes, sandpaper, a drypoint needle, and a scraper/burnisher I have successfully achieved my goal and feel that I have much more to learn.
I'm fascinated with the printmaking process, especially the delightful surprises that come the first time a new plate is pulled. I gravitate towards the textural effects of collagraphs finding platemaking is only limited by one’s imagination. My work has been exhibited throughout the US but primarily in Texas, with a second solo show on the books for Chicago in 2015.

When in the print studio, I most frequently create Monotypes/Monoprints and, because of the freedom this process allows, these prints become wonderful partners to my paintings.

I enjoy blending narrative and portraiture (and sometimes a bit of humor) into my works. My style is influenced by the German Expressionists and the American Social Realists.

My work has been collected and shown internationally and nationally.

I view my work as a collaboration with nature. I make handmade paper with plant materials from my garden. My photographs are also mainly taken in my garden or on hikes. I am fascinated with symbols and intricate patterns that, to me, give glimpses and insights into to the great mysteries of life.

Exhibition Details
7/1/2010 - 7/31/2010
Pump Project Art Gallery
Chair: Anna Kinbar
Event Deadline
The deadline for this event (6/15/2010) has passed.