Friday, December 17, 2010

Featured Artist

Nina Cherian
Nina E. Cherian is an architect, educator, and printmaker. She is deeply committed to a process-based visual practice and specifically focuses upon the relationship between drawing and printmaking in her work. She believes in design as an act of optimism, and is most interested in using craft as a force to resist normative design outcomes. She is interested in discovering relationships between art and architecture through the use of materials and a harmony of scales, and works through drawing, printmaking, glassblowing, and metalworking to carry out these beliefs. In addition to producing prints and drawings independently, she has exhibited work and held residencies in Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Untitled Lithograph, stone lithograph, ink on paper, 10"x14," Nina Cherian, 2010

In composing prints what consideration do you give to the use of light and dark tones or colors in your designs?
     So much of printmaking is about the stratification of ink and color relationships therein. The practice of mixing ink, in and of itself, is a skilled craft, so it's critical for me to understand color in order to project what will result after pulling the print. I have an ongoing body of collage studies (not prints) that looks closely at color relationships.
     Creating these color relationships is fundamental in most of the monotypes I have made. My lithographs, on the other hand, were drawn and printed only with black ink and so the tonal build-up with tusche washes is critical in creating depth within each image. Both in my monotypes and lithographs I intentionally use the tone of the paper to participate in the image as negative space.
     I'm interested in posturing a provisional space that holds moments of discovery, where formal and spatial relationships converge from the usage of color or form. I'm also interested in collapsing the physical, intellectual, and poetic structures we build in order to give shape to our lives. Like archaeology, the analysis of layers and their contents allow us to make connections and reconfigure disparate fragments to tell new stories.

Collage II, solarplate etching; ink on paper, 7"x5," Nina Cherian, 2009
Many of your prints feature shapes, which are reminiscent of organic shapes found in the natural world.  Is your work intentionally inspired by nature?
      I would say my work is influenced by nature on a secondary or tertiary level. Being outdoors, understanding natural processes, etc. is a very important part of my life. But I'm hesitant to say that nature influences my work on a primary level. I draw what is in my mind. My sensibilities rely heavily on the act of drawing and in developing what comes out of the act of drawing; creating organic forms as a response to a delicate line drawing, and creating a delicate line drawing as a response to organic forms. The act teaches you the meaning of the act; the act purifies the motive if you support the act fully. 
Study 2, monotype; ink on paper, 6"x6," Nina Cherian, 2009 
Does your training as an architect inform your approach to print making?
      Definitely - in many ways my background as an architect has shaped my printmaking sensibilities more than any other part of my life. There are so many parallels between architecture and printmaking as far as the degree to which they both rely heavily on process, craftsmanship, and a refined technical knowledge. I'm deeply committed to a process-based visual practice. The overlapping qualities between the two disciplines is what pulls me to them so strongly. I'm interested in anything involving technique, craftsmanship, and process! Welding, bookmaking, metal casting. . .anything that involves making with my hands. 
      It's extremely important for me to position my prints in dialogue with my architectural work because of this fundamental relationship I see between printmaking and drawing. I believe in drawing as a way of seeing and experiencing something differently. On a formal level, many people have observed that my prints have a very architectural, or graphic, sensibility about them. Architecture and printmaking are the two most important disciplines in my life, I never think of them as separate practices; they both consistently influence my thinking and intentions.
Study 2, monotype; ink on paper, 6"x6," Nina Cherian, 2009 
Who are some artists/architects whose work you admire? 
Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy, Theo Jansen, James Turrell, Josef Albers, Giorgio Morandi, Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier, Saarinen, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Ball/Nogues Studio, Robert Smithson

Thank you very much to Nina for sharing her work.  

What do you think of Nina's printmaking?
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  1. It's beautiful! What a talent...

  2. I LOVE it! So exciting. I am in love with Study 2, monotype.