Open Studio Gallery
Visiting Artists Exhibition Mark Crofton Bell & Catherine Lane
Each year Open Studio selects four professional artists with or without printmaking experience to create traditional and/or experimental works in the print medium of their choice, working collaboratively with a print media artist. The Visiting Artist Residency, in operation since 1983, is a popular program that receives applications from artists from around the world. In conjunction with the residency, each artist exhibits the work produced during their period in the Studio, and gives an artist talk. These exhibitions are the result of this intensive work period.
Mark Crofton Bell (Toronto, ON) graduated with an AOCA from the Ontario College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the Chelsea College of Art and Design (London, UK). He has exhibited widely in Canada and abroad, has received numerous grants and awards and has participated in a variety of artist residencies. The process of transforming photography into painting is one of Bell’s primary concerns. He collects images from a variety of sources, which function as a kind of notebook of personal observation and become source material for Bell’s paintings. The subject of these images is often fragmented or fleeting, a decidedly odd perspective of the urban world, absences and interruptions of otherwise ordinary scenes. These photographs act as a starting point for his work and what begins as copying soon becomes interpretation. Eventually the photograph is abandoned altogether as the artist tries to resolve the work in terms of what each composition requires.
Bell has long used media imagery culled from newspapers in his oil and watercolour paintings and in his first foray into the world of printmaking he continues this trajectory. Inspired by his interest in how the narrative of a photograph shifts once it is rendered in a different medium and separated from any sort of explanatory text, during his Visiting Artist Residency at Open Studio, Bell has created a series of aquatint prints, based on photographs from newspapers which distill the current state of the world into a cross section of three images. The results of a drone strike in the Middle East, the Vancouver hockey riots and an image of the White House war room have all emerged as images in Bell’s description of the world at large. Despite attempts at accuracy, there are inevitable imperfections inherent in the translation process; imperfections that are a result of allowing the etching process to dictate as much as possible the outcome of the final image. The various constraints of etching tend to emphasize this (mis)translation process resulting in prints that, although similar to the original source material, remain independent of it.
Catherine Lane (Toronto, ON) completed her BFA and MFA at York and has exhibited widely at venues in Canada and abroad. Through the use of drawing-based installation, Lane’s current studio practice focuses on the idea of the multiplicity of fragmented storytelling, where connections and conclusions are not definitive, but where the focus is instead placed on the numerous possibilities of what the story can be. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional surfaces are used as a base for ink and watercolour drawings, which depict the characters and the more action-oriented or fantastical elements of the narrative. These stories are both non-linear and wordless. Ideally, this form of storytelling serves as an exploratory narrative, where the viewer/reader analyzes the given images, actively discovering and piecing together their own story. During her Visiting Artist Residency, Lane has worked with a collaborative printer to create Farm, a series of prints wherein an image of a barn structure acts as the base for each individual print. Providing a setting for the narrative, the barn serves as the one constant, over which multiple images/fragments of the story are printed. While the barn exists as a fixed point in time, the images around it occur at various moments in the narrative timeframe, collapsing in on one another, yet anchored to a single location. The narrative information given varies from one print to the next and allows for interpretive variation.