Barb Carr’s large 24”x30” monotypes offer visitors a glimpse of ephemeral landscapes in tones of grey, blue, pink, gold, and orange. A closer look at the layered veils of colour reveals subtle variations and delicate textures, sometimes created intentionally, other times accidentally.
Carr, a retired librarian and president of the KSOA Board of Directors, has been making prints since 2007, when she discovered watercolour monoprinting at the Haliburton Summer School of the Arts. These days she uses soya-based water-soluble inks, which she applies with rollers to a plexiglass plate that transfers the image to paper. Most of her monotypes go through several passes of the press and can include a combination of transparent and opaque layers. In her smaller 10”x12” pieces, she has drawn on her prints with soft pastel for more intense colour and detail.
Asked why she was attracted to monoprinting, Carr replies, “It’s full of surprises. The first time I pulled a print it was like Christmas morning.” Cold Front, which is composed of horizontal layers of predominantly blue and pink, provides a case in point. “What really surprised me about this piece was how pronounced the contrast was, and how much texture appeared in the dark sky.” Sometimes Carr is satisfied with only one pass. In Crescendo, she knew immediately that the intense orange sky was just right.
To get different effects, Carr will sometimes pull a second print from her plexiglass plate in order to create a ghosted image. In Winter Trees, for example, she began with this method, then built up the series of tree trunks by adding texture and creating depth with successive pulls. Not every monotype is produced strictly with a roller. In Freeze Up, a paper towel swipe of white ink added to the plate provides the image that conjures the title. But sometimes less is more. By wiping ink off the plate, Carr has exposed the expanse of white paper that defines Frozen River. In Pink Winter, a white sun floats in the pink haze of sky above a swath of trees created by wrapping rubber bands around a roller.
“There are many ways of mark-making,” says Carr. Indeed.
Winter Light: Recent Works by Barb Carr continues until February 18 with a reception on Saturday, February 10 from 2 to 4pm.