Enraptured by Messages

Enraptured by Messages

-Gallery Report by Megan Stolz

October 3 through November 22, 2013, the Foundry Art Centre outside of St. Louis is hosting an exhibition by Baltimore-based artist, and monologging.org contributor, Dara Lorenzo. The exhibit, entitled Enraptured by Messages was two years in the making and is comprised of work from Dara’s graduate thesis at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). This is Dara’s first solo exhibition outside of her hometown of Baltimore.

For this body of work, Dara used a printmaking method called photo-etching. This medium had interested her before, although it was not until graduate school that she found the opportunity to experiment and create such a large body of prints. Her previous work in other mediums – installation and sculpture – have clearly informed and influenced her new style.

“When I got to SFAI, I asked about the photo-sensitive film called Image-On and my studio coordinator. He told me there was a film called Z-Acrylic, designed by my now good friend Mark Zaffron,” Dara explains how she arrived at her medium of choice. “Z-Acrylic is a photo-emulsion film that allows non-toxic properties to occur in printmaking if you don’t etch the plates in acid.”

For a struggling grad student this was a perfect medium to explore because Dara could save money on copper plates by simply reusing them. The process invigorated her interest in concepts of reuse and time based work as well as layering. “I also used a few different kinds of traditional printmaking methods on the photo-plates,” Dara says. “I used a method called ala poupee and viscosity which are two different ways of painting on the plates. This is necessary for me because I come from a painting background and often revisit these gestural techniques in my work.”

The inspiration for the work now on display in Saint Louis actually came out of a period of artistic frustration. “I was in a rut in grad school feeling paralyzed in my work. This had never happened to me to such a debilitating degree,” Dara says. Her explanation of the period derives from feelings of displacement. “I had moved all the way across the country. It was exciting, shocking, empowering and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I was afraid suddenly that I didn’t have anything to make art about.”

Dara confronted the pressures of her new life in San Francisco and the challenges of her program during her walks from the BART station to the SFAI campus. Attracted to textures and signs in urban landscapes, she noticed carvings in the concrete and graffiti everywhere. This street art became an “obsession”.

In the present show, Dara has a special attachment to the picture entitled Alex. The piece features images of a carved name in the concrete as well as Dara’s own feet. “I felt that I was documenting a path that many had taken,” Dara says. “Alex incorporates ideas that originally met with objections from my colleagues and professors. I never wanted to conform to some of these objections, even though I sometimes tried to sever ties from my old practices.”

Dara was accepted by the Emerging Artist series in St. Louis last year. She flew out to St. Louis before the show to help with the installation. This commitment is not always expected of artists, but Dara felt it was important that she was involved.  “I wanted to convey the concept of the work better through the actual installation,” she says, adding; “participating in the exhibit’s setup was an opportunity to try and help the viewers see things through my vision.”

The artist’s work is never finished. Dara is already working on her next series of prints, using photographs from both her and her father’s collection to tell a juxtaposed story. In the meantime, Saint Louis may be busy hosting the World Series, but there is certainly another worthwhile show in town!


Post photos courtesy of Dara Lorenzo