Melissa Dickenson: Imaginary Oceans opens at Shine Collective Friday, March 7

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Baltimore artist Melissa Dickenson is exhibiting her newest series of paintings at Shine Collective on Friday, March 7, 2008, 6-9pm.

Imaginary Oceans is the result of a two-month residency in Japan. I traveled to a small factory on the island of Shikoku, Japan in the spring of 2007 to study traditional handmade paper at the Awagami Hall of Japanese Handmade Paper. After a month in Awa-Yamakawa at Awagami factory, I moved north and continued my
exploration of paper in Tokyo

The pieces I am presenting are a series of work made on Awa-Washi (Japanese hand made paper). It is an investigation in creating unique surfaces on which to paint. In these pieces I use the fibers of Kozo root present in the Washi as the outlines for imaginary landscapes. I have “drawn out” the fibers and imperfections in the paper with paint and suture to make more visible the imaginary worlds in which images of flora and fauna exist. The animal and plant life in combination with natural materials used to make the Washi is meant to be a dialogue about survival in an ever-advancing technological world. The vivid colors used in the creatures are not truly found in nature; the organic forms, which make up the landscapes, are also abstract and ask the viewer to imagine surreal environments, which may become our reality someday. Many of the animalia are placed out of a “normal” context, which allots for disorder in the laws of nature, and parallels our own lives when it is 90 degrees in March. Because the works were made by hand from start to finish, using the traditional technique of Awa-washi, also a dying art form, it is meant to mirror with it’s imperfections the organic things we are seeing less and less of in the world today.

– Melissa Dickenson

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