Friday, January 13, 2023

Gallery Opening: Desert Reflections

Making art feels good. But it never feels quite "done" until it's up on the wall.

Grateful for the opportunity to show my work at the ZACC in July!

Works by the ZACC’s Laura Grace Barrett Resident Artist Lia Mendez

Blackfoot Communications Gallery, July 2022

Missoula, Montana

In Western culture, deserts are often mischaracterized as "wastelands," devoid of life and value. Yet desert ecosystems sustain a rich tapestry of life, including plants, insects, animals, and of course the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited and stewarded these arid lands since time immemorial. These works celebrate the biodiversity of desert life and remind us of the inherent value of these lands, which are becoming increasingly threatened by human development and environmental degradation; occasionally even by products masquerading as "green" initiatives, such as industrial solar farms. It's an issue that highlights the fact that technology alone cannot solve the environmental challenges of our time. It is up to humanity to collectively reassess and reinvest – practically, emotionally, and spiritually – in our relationship with the living Earth which sustains us.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Printmaking Residency at the ZACC

 In 2022, I was selected for the Laura Grace Barrett Printmaking Residency at the Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC) in Missoula, Montana. As part of my 4-month residency, I assisted with printmaking workshops at the ZACC's well-equipped studio, learned new skills, and pursued my own printmaking projects.

With access to the ZACC's quality tools and presses, I was able to try my hand at woodblock printing for the first time. After years of working with linoleum, working with wood presented both an interesting challenge and some beautifully crisp lines and textures. 

I loved the look and feel of this new medium so much, I even experimented with turning the carved block into a work of art.

Another first was trying my hand at screen printing. Compared to the labor-intensive process of hand-carving blocks for printing, the immediacy of burning a screen from an inked drawing was a lot of fun.

For this piece, I traced mushroom straight from my sketchbook.

I think my favorite application of this medium was printing on clothing. Below you can see how the shroomies turned out printed on a black cotton tee (now one of my favorites shirts). 

Thank you to the ZACC staff and the wonderful team in the print studio for having me! Everyone's warmth and expertise made this residency an incredibly rewarding experience.