College-associated artists hosting exhibit opening Friday at 314 Project Space

The art exhibit “The Press Corps: Ways of Seeing” will open at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14. The opening will begin at 7 p.m. at 314: Ripon College Project Space in downtown Ripon. Light refreshments will be served.

The show will run through May 6. The artists are Lee Shippey, retired as art department assistant and adjunct instructor; Sarah McGowan, retired as librarian and director of libraries; and Elaine Coll, professor of physical education emerita. All are Ripon-based artists.

“For over 15 years, Elaine Coll, Sarah McGowan and I have been meeting once a week to make prints at Rodman Center for the Arts on the Ripon College campus,” Shippey says. “We call ourselves The Press Corps. It’s been a wonderful collaboration, full of energy and experimentation. As evident in this show, we each have quite different ways of seeing. Yet perhaps because of this, we were able to encourage and support each other’s unique vision.”

Shippey is showing monotypes from her ongoing series “Food and Technology.” “My artwork is certainly grounded in my fascination with the real world,” she says. “I hope to surprise the viewer by placing traditional still life objects, such as a pear, with various unexpected pieces of technology, like a computer cord. I suppose I’m also trying to come to terms with my own discomfort with the new technology by intertwining these dichotomous objects. Perhaps I’m trying to look backward and forward at the same time.”

McGowan is showing oil paintings, a departure from The Press Corps. “Nevertheless, I have gained much from the insights of my Monday morning printing companions,” she says. “The friendship and creative energy of The Press Corps has helped me tremendously.

“Painting the things I love takes me away from this disturbing world and into a space that only peace and beauty touch. I like to try to recreate the emotion I feel when I see something beautiful in nature or something interesting in my surroundings. … I paint because it is fun and the process gives me much pleasure.”

Coll’s monotypes “are largely composed from botanicals, fresh or dried flora found in nature or stolen from a winter plant in my house or someone else’s house or office. I often try to include found objects, such as lace, onion bags, string, ribbon, feathers and such. As I gained experience, I noticed that I began to look for possibilities for raw materials on my daily travels. As I tried out different plants, and other objects, I found that I began to develop more of an eye for what might work. I feel that I now look at natural objects in a very different way than previously. For instance, an Austrian pine needle can become grass or pick-up- sticks — or remain pine needles.”

She says her results vary, depending upon her eye, her skills at the press and the ink she mixes and uses.
“The monotype format allows the textures of the leaves, stems, flowers and other parts of the plants to combine with the texture of the paper to provide an organic feel,” she says. “I often run a piece through the press several times with the same paper but with different inks and objects in different arrangements. The outcomes can be surprising — and possibly very different from what I had imagined. The entire process of making my art is very satisfying to me, and sometimes the resulting art is satisfying, too.”

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