Showing december 2020

Amy Dobrian

eastside amy dobrian

Amy Dobrian - Printmaking and Paper Arts

A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Amy Elizabeth Dobrian graduated from Dartmouth College in 1987 with a dual major in French and Visual Arts. She studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Lacoste School of the Arts in Lacoste, France, and received the MA in printmaking in 1990 and the MFA in printmaking and drawing in 1992 from the University of Iowa. She continued her study of lithography at the Tamarind Lithography Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Versed in intaglio, lithography, and relief printmaking, Dobrian now focuses on unique, uneditioned works which combine printmaking vocabulary and technique with collage and hand work. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in over one hundred group and solo exhibitions. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with her husband and daughter.

A bird is a momentary experience. A warbler in the woods is a flick of moving color between sun-dappled leaves. A meadowlark is a voice in tall grass, or a patch of yellow against a bright sky. A swirling swallow is a long gestural line. I am captivated by the magic of these brief visitations of winged creatures, and their interaction with tree, grass, and air.

I try to capture the essence of each bird from these glimpses on long walks in woods and prairies, noting the character and posture that marks its species, balancing realism and detail in my depiction with a sense of the ephemeral. I make quick pencil sketches to catch the angles, proportions, and posture that define the bird, then translate that shape to ink on the plate.

The medium of monotype allows me to work spontaneously in transparent layers of color, to evoke light and shadow moving through grasses and leaves. Oil based relief inks are applied with rollers in a thin film to a plexiglas plate. Then the image is drawn reductively, with my finger wrapped in a cotton rag, wiping away ink to reveal the white spaces of the drawing. Each color is a separate ink drawing, printed on top of the last. Unlike an etching or woodcut, the plate contains no permanent image, so once printed, each drawing is unrepeatable. I sometimes use mylar stencils to create a hard edge or to repeat a specific shape from one piece to another. In some cases, fine details are added to the printed surface with aquarelle pencil. I work quickly, trying to maintain the simplicity of the sketch, and the feeling of the brief encounter with the bird.

For me, the practice of art and time spent in nature share the same purpose. Each forms a connection to a collective unconscious, to a universal experience of beauty, to a moment both specific and timeless. I want my work to be a vehicle of connection for the viewer to wild places, to their magic and to their necessity.

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