Margaret Craig & Tonja Torgerson
To Celebrate Print Austin, grayDUCK is pleased to present two artists with an atypical approach to print making. “Out of the Ruined Place” finds beauty in unlikely settings. Margaret Craig uses an invented printing process on discarded plastic to create a luminous Trash Reef installation. Tonja Torgerson explores human impermanence, decaying/being consumed by nature, with serigraphs, wheat paste graffiti and photography.
My work is derived from printmaking methods; mixed media with or without support, and prints stretched over forms using a technique I developed. My work is about the manipulation of form that transforms the idea; a recreation of multilayered process found in nature. A degree in biology informs my work. The process controls the work, each layer a response to the results of the last experiment. The outcome proves the hypothesis of what might happen, and leaves me open to surprising results. I create synthetic natural processes, think pond scum or the dry earth cracking, in the service of my own making. My art extends the process of human manipulation of natural influences. It concerns contemplation of the ways we affect the plants and animals around us, and, sometimes how they may affect us.
The Great Trash Reef speculates on the state of our oceans. There are giant islands of trash gathered by currents in the centers of our oceans. The predominant component is plastic. Tragically in some cases, as it breaks down animals eat it thinking it is food. But there are also water skating insects that use it as places to lay eggs and have grown in population. At the same time CO2 in the environment is causing less global warming then thought, as oceans absorb it. But this also acidifies the oceans and sea life cannot form shells from the traditional calcium. Perhaps it will use this new readily available ingredient?
Margaret Craig received a degree in Biology Secondary Education, a BS in Art and an MA in Painting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She later received an MFA in Printmaking from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a leader in innovative printmaking techniques, inventing Tar Gel Pressless Etching. Often involved in trade portfolios, Craig exhibits prints and sculpture all over the world. Currently she is Professor and Chair of Printmaking at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, TX.
Tonja Torgerson is currently the Printmaking Fellow at Lawrence Arts Center in Lawrence, KS. Her artwork is regularly exhibited nationally and internationally; and is included in several private and museum collections, including the Weisman Art Museum and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Torgerson deals with illness, death, and the impermanence of the body. Reminders of death and the transient materiality of our bodies are disconcerting. Nevertheless, through the blending of beauty into disgust, the work retains a pervasiveness that allows the viewer an intimate moment to reflect on these uncomfortable truths.