November 20, 2020 – March 6, 2021
An image list is available here.
“In these times of enforced isolation how can we remember and reinforce the benefit of being together? Community should not always be considered valuable on the basis of pure numbers. Surely the power is in how our numbers increase the possibilities of cooperation? A friend of mine once spoke of the strength and momentum in a murmuration of birds. Birds flying together in formation, creating elaborate configurations, the sky becomes patterned with the birds in flight. A murmuration is a visual reminder of the power and beauty of connectivity”. – Patrick Macaulay, Executive Director of Open Studio.
Murmuration was built on connectivity and artistic innovation and inspired by the 1950s House of Cards designed by Ray and Charles Eames. Murmuration brings together a community of Open Studio Artist Members to create a unique, interconnected print media project. Each piece (board) exists as a standalone work and is slotted in union with other boards to build a large-scale tower-like structure. The towers symbolize community and knowledge sharing. Murmuration is about artists coming together to create a work of art.
Anne Abbass, Sally Ayre, Mary Baranowski-Lowden, Diana Birkenheier, Yael Brotman, Jane Burns, Laura Bydlowska, Linda Carreiro, Carlina Chen, Rebecca Cowan, Claudine Crangle, Susan Cunningham, Karen Curry, Victoria Day, Laura Demers, Agata Derda, Rocky Dobey, Pamela Dodds, Rachael Dodgson, Samsam Elmi, Alysa-Beth Engel, Elizabeth Forrest, Christine Fry, Anna Gaby-Trotz, Fatima Garzan, Arwen Giel, Phyllis Gordon, Elena Gorlenko, Libby Hague, Peter Hendrick, Astrid Ho, Jenn Law, Jae Lee, Brenda Joy Lem, Lorna Livey, Liz Menard, Steven Murray, Loree Ovens, Jessica Palmer, Liz Parkinson, Irinia Schestakowich, Snaige Sileika, Penelope Stewart, Otis Tamasauskas, Alexandra Terrell, Heather J. A. Thomson, Pudy Tong, Rebecca Travis, Alexandra Tremblay, Ann Unger, Meggan Winsley and Joy Wong
Read some insight provided by our Artist Members:
The inspiration behind the images in my ‘Murmuration’ artwork is architecture: but architecture where the construction is temporal in nature…I wish to offer hope, and so I include in my prints images of brightly coloured poles, pipes, wood supports and patterned textiles. All these objects move together to transform into a dance that can welcome those outside the circle to join in.
I screenprinted my latest images of leaves onto the board, and drew lines with lithography pencil crayons and vegetable oil to separate each diagonal group of sliced prints (taken from all the projects I’ve worked on at Open Studio). When seeing the board, it is hard to find something to focus on – no centered colour to rest the viewers’ eyes, no blank space for breathing, but patterns and colours pouring right out at viewers. I aimed for a festive celebration for Open Studio, and I wish for many years of happy printing to come at Open Studio.
When starting a project, I play with colours by overprinting on old proofs from past projects…I was illustrating a children’s book about a housing development during the lockdown, so my murmuration moved from soaring in-sync to sheltering (windows and doors open – poised to take flight!). I built the community [of bird houses] using layered proofs from decades of screenprints developed at OS.
Since the ‘Murmuration’ project was to celebrate Open Studio’s 50th birthday it caused me to think about my own long association with Open Studio. I first came to Open Studio in 1984 as the interim director of lithography. I have been a member ever since.
I decided to do a collage integrating a selection of “30 Years of lithography”. The exterior panel is called “Moonlit Shafts”. This image was based on Etruscan spears that I had seen while studying fresco painting in Italy. I wanted to shift the scale so that the shafts became monumental – more like the shafts of trees. I now live in a rainforest surrounded by towering firs, so this image resonates with me.
This image is about the nature of connection. The mirrored hands were a way to show that one has to be willing to reach out to form bonds. The energy you extend to others is then reflected back in kind. The drawing was originally completed in August 2020 and resulted from what I’m sure many of us have been thinking about during the covid-19 pandemic –How do we stay together while keeping apart? The original drawing was then scanned to create a glitch, or a disconnect, and screenprinted onto the board for the Murmuration exhibition.
If asked to describe murmuration, the words that come to mind are flowing shapes that create dynamic yet indistinguishable forms which are constantly shifting moment to moment…the forms created, are meant to imply connection, as the pieces separate and are in the process of coming back together.
I wanted to continue making work about water, my current muse. I also wanted to incorporate ‘Moonlight, Johnson Lake’ (my small linocut in the earlier Murmuración project) onto the Murmuration board. Hand-printing (no press at home) didn’t work. Eventually, office mailing labels came to mind, pre-glued and printer ready. I scanned the linocut and printed it many times on sheets of 2″ x 4″ labels. Then I placed each label carefully on the board, reminding me of the initial observational drawing.
My contribution comprises a collaged arrangement of lithographed objects from my ongoing “Heirloom” series. Printed at 1:1 scale on tissue-thin gampi paper, the collection is designed to evolve, with new object-prints added over time to be gifted away or folded and left anonymously in library books for unwary readers to adopt into their own collections. Approached as a deconstructed vanitas arrangement, the project explores the capacity of objects to create social meaning and connection through material trajectories.
Murmuration is about the power and beauty of connectivity. Bridges connect people. Nature does too.
I began hand-cutting the negative space from my “Former Easter Avenue Bridge” etching. When this powerful industrial bridge was cut-out, it was extremely fragile. However, when collaged onto an Algonquin Park etching, I saw strength and beauty. [It reminded me that] we are all connected.
I joined Open Studio in the early 90’s. I was so fortunate to find a wonderful and talented community of artists to belong to…a place to share, to make artwork and to become reinvigorated and a place to develop long-term friendships.
When thinking about my murmuration board I was intensely working on a screenprint series titled “the incompleteness of presence” which visually tracked a recent residency at a 19th-century museum in France…The [museum] garden became an archive of plant life in all cycles of life, symbols of regeneration as did the broken ceramics in the workshops waiting to be mended and have a new life. The metaphors that emerged became more strident in my imagination since the Covid-19 lockdowns. I began to think of the old rose, beautiful in its fading, marking its changing and readiness for new blooms, and always growing, always in a state of becoming.
My beloved Open Studio community was celebrating its 50th year and we could not physically be together for this milestone event and yet we managed to create an installation celebrating our varied talents, processes, imagination, and generosity in an interlocking installation known as “murmuration” and showcasing our ability to become.
Printing on wood is a new challenge that was initially daunting for me. Building a composition about climate change began to unfold in drawings.
The bold red layer using lithography ink expresses the rising temperatures. A second red layer on top is a drypoint print of circles which is subtly visible in some lighting conditions. As with the planet, some climate changes are not always evident. Throughout the rest of the composition, I used pochoir.
The 4 directional compass indicates the entire globe is impacted. The magnified “pixels” along the bottom represents dialogue among scientists and environmentalists alike as they continue to educate us. The message of LISTEN is a sound wave within the array of shapes. My iceberg print on washi is intended to be a strong contrast to the red and other details. Our awareness of the ice melting at an alarming rate cannot be ignored any longer.