North Idaho College and the Citizens’ Council for the Arts are hosting “Topographies and Fictions,” an exhibit by artists Meredith Dean and Dennis Olsen Feb. 4 through March 29 in the Corner Gallery in NIC’s Boswell Hall. On Thursday, Feb. 7 there will be a gallery walk at 10:30 a.m. with the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Corner Gallery. At 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, there will be a presentation from the artists at the Meyer Health and Sciences Building Room 102.
Dean’s work is concerned with the constant nature of change, choice, and a fascination with the macro/micro and ever-shifting atmosphere of the physical world. She uses the process of relief printing as a metaphor for this idea. The prints are created from several layers of puzzle-cut relief plates, with each layer of plates containing a different aspect of mapping information about a specific place, on a given date and time of some personal importance.
Dean has a bachelor’s degree in Painting and a master’s degree in Printmaking – both from Washington University School of Fine Arts. She is currently a full-time lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a co-founder and vice-president of the Santa Reparata International School of Art.
Olsen’s work is derived from banknote engravings from around the world; however, his borrowings from those notes do not respect their provenance. Like musical samplings after which they are titled, they are composite faces: kings, queens, tyrants, heroes, saints and sinners. They are a complex visual mixing that melds facial appearances of ethnicity, gender, and class.
All of the images were drawn on Mylar, then exposed to ImageOn plates and printed as intaglios.
“As the Mylar drawings emerge from the page distinct personalities are formed and I allow them to develop unhindered. Like authors who frequently say that their fictitious characters take them in unexpected directions, such journeys lead me to places that I have never visited and demand a resolution that can only be described as discovery,” Olsen said. “I permit myself to explore themes I have never used in previous work: humor and silliness, vulnerability and pomposity, anger and tenderness.”
Olsen is professor of printmaking, drawing, and digital media at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his master’s degree from UCLA in 1967 and in that year was awarded a Fulbright Grant to study printmaking in Italy. In 1970 he co-founded the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy and served as director of classes and professor of printmaking until his return to the United States in 1981. He currently serves as president of SRISA.
The Corner Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission to the gallery is free.