Open Studios Hartford

"Open Studio Weekend" began in 1989, formed by a handful of artists most of whom relied on the sale of artwork as their sole income. They combined efforts to promote their art and support one another. By the 5th year, the participation had grown to 50 local artists.

In 1996, Spring Open Studio Weekend was introduced and the inclusion of “visiting” artists was accepted - meaning those artists that lived outside of Hartford could join and show their work in group spaces or in corridors of various venues. That year, there were over 60 artists that came to show in a raw space under the Colt Dome. The event continued to grow with the opening of ArtSpace Hartford. It was a very exciting time for "Hartford Artists' Open Studio Weekend" drawing the attention of the media. In 2003, Artists in Real Time, Inc. (ART) was formed and received its 501(c)(3) status. The event now known as "Open Studio Hartford" is ART's major undertaking. 

Today, OSH is a free, city-wide event, now with events through the month of November, starting with a popular Group Show, Performance Art Weekend, Open Studio Weekends and After Party Reception. During Open Studios art studios, galleries, educational institutions, art-related businesses and other creative group locations will be open to the public. It is a collaboration designed to promote the local arts community, the artists themselves and their work and to bring people into the neighborhoods of our capital city for an enjoyable, educational and inspiring event. 

OSH has become an event that the artists and the public anticipate and it has grown in the past three years to over 300 artists that specialize in a range of media including painting, sculpture, murals, jewelry, pottery, fiber arts, graphic design, digital art, video, interactive installations, etc. Musicians, dancers, poets and other artists perform as well.

This year, Kathleen Zimmerman will be participating in Open Studios Hartford exhibiting her latest serigraphs. Serigraphy, also known as silk screening, screen printing or serigraph printing, is a stencil-based printing process in which ink is forced through a fine screen onto the paper beneath. Screens were originally made of silk, but they are now made of finely woven polyester or nylon. The concept of fine art printing has been popular since the 18th century, enabling artists to share their work with a broader range of admirers at a more accessible price. Since then, printmaking has evolved into another medium artists use to create artwork not just as a way to work in multiples. Silkscreen printing, also known as serigraph printing, is a medium that is increasingly valued for its versatility. It challenges the lithographic process in terms of the textural rendering of an image. Kathleen likes the fresh contemporary look this medium offers and thinks it is the perfect medium in which to add vibrant color and layering to her original drawing. Besides these benefits, the woven texture of the screen enhances their texture adding another element to these works.

Click on the above image to see all five images of Kathleen’s Universe Series.

Kathleen’s space during the Open Studios will be located on the second floor in the staff room in the historic Colt Gateway at 34 Sequassen Street on the corner of Huyshope. There she will be in attendance to talk about her work and to patrons one on one the first weekend of this event November 3rd - 4th from 11 am - 5 pm both days. All the work shown in this entry of our blog will be exhibited and for purchase during this event directly from the artist. Since all these hand-pulled prints were created in small limited editions come early.

Kathleen’s Dance Series (shown below) will also be included in the group exhibition to be held at ArtSpaceHartford Gallery at 555 Asylum Street in Hartford. They will be featured as the inspiration for a dance created and performed by Astrid Uryson and Daya Soudan. Astrid and Daya are co-founders of the Wild Angels dance company out of Deep River, CT, who perform locally as well as in NYC. This performance will occur at 3 pm before the After Party, which will be held there on November 17th from 5 - 8 pm. All the participating artists and patrons are invited to socialize as they listen to poetry & music, watch the dance performance while being treated to refreshments. It is sure to be the happening place to be so don’t miss out on the fun! For more information visit her webpage at http://openstudiohartford.com/artists?artistID=1655 .

Click on the above image to see all three images of Kathleen’s Dance Series.

Note: Kathleen’s work was shown in October at the South Gallery in Soho, NYC and she is to be inducted into the National Association of Women Artists on November 15th. She will be showing at NAWA’s gallery throughout November located at 315 West 39th Street in NYC.


Artist As...

In Kathleen's Artist Series, she uses a variety of her related works of art in three different collage/drawings to create prints showing the "Artist As" a feminist, a theorist and an environmentalist.  A line drawing of the artist standing with arms wide open represents her sensitivity to the world around her. It is used in each of the three designs to tie together the different elements of the collage as well as the three collages and to add another layer of meaning. 

Artist Series - Feminist, collage & print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

The Artist as a feminist features her series': Truth, Rights and WoMan. All these works show the male and female relationship but from different perspectives. In Lovers the complementary aspect is highlighted, in Rights an unbalanced view and balanced view of how the sexes and nature are treated in society is visualized while in WoMan the different yet equal aspect is communicated. While equality of the sexes has been denied through most of human history, it is a fact of life.

Artist Series - Theorist, collage & print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

The Artist as theorist features her series', Cosmic Cow and Universe. Cosmic Cow Series - Light Dark symbolizes the earth, the sky and higher consciousness. Kathleen's Universe Series are playful explorations into some theories concerning the universe/multiverse using a variety of animals to represent our reaction to these ideas. Who hasn't dreamed of scary aliens invading from afar, imagined what makes up the rings of Saturn, wondered what it would be like living in the caves of Mars, thought about when we might be drawn into the black hole that keeps our galaxy together or seen heaven when we look up at the stars? Humankind’s attempt to understand the world we find ourselves in as well as ponder the existence of a higher consciousness, has led us to study our world both through observation and thought.

The Artist as environmentalist features her series', Zoo and Global Warming. Both series' use the circular format to represent the eternal and the physical world. The Zoo Series symbolizes the connectedness of all life forms and the fact that animals are on the run for their lives. While Global Warming Series symbolizes the changes that are happening to our planet and the fact that current life forms are struggling to survive these unnaturally fast changes due to humans’ effect on the planet. Life has evolved into its current state largely on its own but now humankind is a player in how it moves forward or not.

Artists can play a vital role in society by being sensitive to what is going on around them and helping to rethink outdated ideas and harmful actions. In the Artist Series, Kathleen highlights three issues that she has dealt with in her work that are of vital importance; the need for humankind to confront sexism for what it is and acknowledge the inherent equality of the sexes, to work towards a better understanding the nature of our world including ourselves and to strive to protect the delicate balance that makes life possible.  


Cosmic Cow

     Cosmic Cow Series was created after two inspirational events, a trip to Thailand where Kathleen encountered a lovely mud encrusted cow and a series of podcasts concerning the latest theories about the universe aired in which Kathleen listened to. The cow inspired Kathleen by its shear aesthetic beauty and by the fact that it just happened to look up at Kathleen in the most endearing way. This cow seemed to embody the warmth and tenderness that have made many cultures consider cows sacred. In Vedic literature, the cow is a symbol of abundance and fertility representing both the earth and the sky. To Hindus and Buddhists, cows symbolize patience and holiness and are considered India's most sacred animal. The podcasts inspired Kathleen by providing her with information she could grasp about the nature of light and dark matter, the relationship between space and time as well as the bazaar behavior between matter and antimatter. Both these events caused Kathleen to begin a series of drawings using the cow to communicate these three different aspects of our world. They became her Cosmic Cow Series, using the well-known term, each titled to go along with the idea behind it. Thus LightDark, SpaceTime and MatterAntimatter came into existence.

  Cosmic Cow Series- LightDark , graphite drawing, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Cosmic Cow Series- LightDark, graphite drawing, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

     LightDark was the first of these three drawings and is shown above. It was the basis for serigraphic print that was just printed at Modern Multiples in Los Angeles, California. In both Kathleen's digital archival and serigraphic prints, she added a block of yellow ink to visually portray the notion of enlightenment that goes along with this series' overall meaning. While LightDark is a portrait; it goes beyond illustrating the particular cow that Kathleen saw but tries to capture the essence of cows in general. By the use of contrasts, waves and a variety of tones as well as the illusion to the starry night sky and the bright day sky, this work of art is meant to communicate a sense of the nature of light and dark matter that makes up our world. 

  Cosmic Cow Series - LightDark , digital archival print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Cosmic Cow Series - LightDark, digital archival print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

     Above is an image of the digital archival print of LightDark. The serigraphic print's image size is 14 x 18 inches centered on a piece of 22 x 26 inch Coventry Rag paper. It is too big to be scanned at Zimmerman Fine Art Studio so is not shown here but it will be in exhibition soon. We will update this post with the details of where and when. Kathleen is currently refining the scans of SpaceTime and MatterAntimatter so that she can produce serigraphs of them as well. As soon as SpaceTime and MatterAntimatter are finished we will post them on this blog.     


True

True Series takes a look at three different aspects of a male/female relationship in Balance, YinYang and Double Happiness using the human figure, symbols and nature.

In Balance, Kathleen uses nude male and female figures overlying a triangle and inverted triangle surrounded by clouds to communicate nature's inherent balance between the sexes in the natural world. 

In YinYang, Kathleen uses interlocking male and female heads inscribed with the sun and the moon surrounded by urban and rural landscapes to communicate the different yet complementary roles that a couple may take on to live in today's world.

In Double Happiness, Kathleen uses nude male and female figures overlying a Chinese symbol and a heart shaped cloud, along with a pair of birds in various caring acts, to communicate the stages of life and love that a couple goes through in a long term relationship. 

While all these works show the male and female relationship from different perspectives, the common theme is the complementary aspect and the equality of the sexes. While this equality has been denied through most of human history, in the natural world this balance has always been present.


Relief Prints

        Relief printmaking is a method of printmaking in which the raised forms are the inked elements not the recessed or etched parts as in intaglio printmaking. Recently, Kathleen has been designing wood blocks to create a number of playful prints using a variety of symbols from her drawings as well as creating some line drawings for this purpose. Her first set of wood block prints are shown in the first two images below titled, Soul Mates Series - Heads in the Clouds & Heads Over Heels. Clouds, moons, cats, dogs and squares come together to communicate a sense what it is like to have a soul mate. 

   Soul Mates Series - Heads in the Clouds,   wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Soul Mates Series - Heads in the Clouds, wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

   Soul Mates Series - Heads Over Heels  , wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Soul Mates Series - Heads Over Heels, wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

       To make her relief prints, she starts by selecting shapes or creating line drawings that are meaningful to her and that will translate well in this medium. Then she cuts these shapes out of wood either with a scroll saw or with the aid of a laser cutter if complicated shapes or line drawings are to be used. Then she begins to fit these shapes together into a meaningful composition. In her first two prints, it took playing with the shapes to finalize the design while in her latest print the design was finalized in the drawing stage. Once the composition is composed, she figures out the colors she wants to use that will go along with the overall meaning of the piece. The number of colors she decides to use will determine how many backing boards she will need to cut. These are cut to the exact same size to help with registration and so the design elements can be located in the correct position in relation to one another even when they are separated. Different elements are  separated because each color of ink is applied and run through the press before the next color of ink is applied. Thus if you want to have a four-colored print, four boards are set up each containing only the shapes that are to be printed a certain color. For example, in the top print all the clouds were glued to one board inked red, printed and dried before the dogs and top two squares were inked black, printed and dried, etc. When applying the ink, it is rolled on and must be stiff enough so it remains only on the top of the shapes and will not fill in the lines or cause fuzzy edges. Once inked, the board and the paper is carefully positioned  and run through the press. Since Kathleen uses water based intaglio ink, she let each colored ink set before she printed the next color. Taking time to let each color dry was important so that the previous layer of ink will not smudge when the paper in run through the press again.  Each layer of ink was let dry a day or two before the next ink was added. The overall drying time for these prints was about a week and a half to make sure all the inks were completely dry. Once dry, each print was edited, cut to the final dimensions and signed. Kathleen limited the editions for all of her wood block prints at 16 (sweet sixteen, haha) with 2 artist's proofs. 

   Zoo Series - Farm   ,  wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Zoo Series - Farm, wood block print, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

       Her latest print is shown above titled, Zoo Series - Farm. The line drawing Kathleen created for this print is shown below. In the finalized print, the line drawing is featured in the raised white of the paper that intertwines over the recessed blue circle of ink. A double layered black mat was cut to compliment the circular shape and to go along with the print's meaning. Sometimes using just one color can say all that needs to be said. In this print it helps keep the focus on the beauty of the lines and goes along with the subject matter representing the swirling clouds that float around our planet. This print is meant to communicate a sense of the connectedness of life on earth. Kathleen's love of form and thoughtful use of line work well will this method of printmaking.

   Zoo Series- Farm  , line drawing, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

Zoo Series- Farm, line drawing, copyrighted by Kathleen Zimmerman

       A couple nice things about wood block printing are the relief aspect and the primitive/modern feel them emit. The relief aspect is the embossing that happens when she runs a piece of paper through the press over raised shapes. While special attention has to be given to the pressure of the press so it does not crease the paper, when done correctly it is a delight to see the three-dimensionality take form. This does not show on the screen but in real life viewing it is a visual delight. All the colors are set below the clean white paper.  Relief printmaking is the oldest form of printmaking and there are many examples of primitive works of art.  Two notable modern artists who also used wood block printmaking are the masters, Picasso and Matisse.