July 15th, 2017


Written by Shawna Moore, gallery artist

The myth of the artist alone in the studio either in blissful inspiration or brooding despair fails to address the more common ailment of boredom with one’s own work. Creativity is an exploration, a pursuit and a journey that requires substantial effort to find and unfold. Artists often change their location, their materials and even friends in order to stir the pot and create new insights and artistic recipes.

A recent residency at Atelier 6000 in Bend, Oregon with master printer Pat Clark and printer Julie Winter, helped lock down and elaborate on the division of the picture plane (top, bottom, hinging, framing, colors, etc.) of the abstracted landscape paintings I have worked on for the last several years. The rapid exploration of using ink, plate, and paper with two experts created a fast paced dive into smaller less planned work. This experience propelled me back into the studio to resolve these dynamics using much larger panels and the painting materials of wax, resin and pigment.

When I returned to my Montana painting studio, I was craving printing for its immediacy. As I unpacked the bound paper bundles of prints from me week of work, I found tidbits that I could imagine translated into large colorful wax surfaces.  So rather than leaving the print studio behind, I constantly referenced these small paper works to bring a freshness to the more formal and time intensive paintings.  In fact the color scheme that I had used in the prints, were derived from the paintings in the studio earlier in the year, so there was a consistency that made sense to me.

Some of my newest paintings are direct responses to the print work. From the irregularity in the ink on the paper, I am struck my new textural opportunities. Watch for a new direction in the paintings to come and a return to the print studio in the future. For more information on Atelier 6000: https://bendartcenter.org

Shawna Moore enjoyed temporarily switching gears to print-making and the reciprocal work that came out of the residency—some of the new encaustic pieces she will be showing at Gallatin River Gallery were inspired by the smaller prints she made in Oregon. Print-making allowed for a little more chaos and clutter in the frame—a sense of overlapping windows and doorways—than working in wax, she said. But Moore is always drawn back to expressing complexity as simply as possible.