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Confident Plotting: Alexis Granwell’s Traces of Remains reviewed by Alex Ebstein

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Alexis Granwell’s solo exhibition, Traces of Remains, on view in the Holtzman MFA Gallery at the Center for the Arts at Towson University, invites viewers to decode the works as specimens or blueprints from an unknown time and place. Both a printmaker and a sculptor, Granwell’s language of abstraction merges into simplistic, imaginary architecture, and, as a result she translates with ease between the two mediums.

Six large drypoint etchings on view are printed on hand-made, hand-colored paper, produced in the artist’s Philadelphia studio. The top layer of the printed images come from Sintra plates, their imagery perhaps a response to the color results arrived at in the first part of her process. The final product remains a mystery until the plates and paper can come together in a press in Rhode Island that is large enough to accommodate the work. This hindered, procedural method of working imbues the pieces with an appropriately distant tone, as if the artist discovered the works rather than created them. Made up of demure dots and scratches, Granwell’s marks add up to a confident plotting, a memory-map delineating lost territories on watery moonscapes, hinting at the familiar but bleeding into the purely abstract.

Similarly, her sculptures are collections of smaller pieces, clustered together in elegant branches and tight clots. Hung on the wall or resting on a table, these smaller works hover between the prints like orbiting debris from an extra-solar disaster. The sculptures contribute a looseness and imprecision which helps to inform larger, more rigorous works. In Traces of Remains, craft triumphs and deteriorates in the same space with an aptly metaphysical bearing.

Traces of Remains is on view through November 2nd with an artist talk on Thursday, October 24th at 6:30pm at the Center for the Arts at Towson University. Lecture Hall CA 2032.

Alexis Granwell teaches at Tyler School for the arts and is a member of the artist-run gallery collective, Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Philadelphia. Her work has been exhibited at CTRL gallery in Houston, TX, Arlington Center for the Arts in Arlington, VA, Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, DE, and Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

* Author and Photographer Alex Ebstein is an artist, curator and writer based in Baltimore, MD. She is ok.

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