Visual art adds to Park City Library’s welcoming feel
Art exhibit by Saltgrass Printmakers and Vincent Mattina Through Feb. 28 The Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave. Free parkcitylibrary.org
The Park City Library is more than just a place to check out books. Many patrons come to the library to study, read or do research — activities that some people do in their own living rooms.
So, taking the concept that the Park City Library is essentially a community living room, it becomes more welcoming with the addition of fine visual art exhibits, said Becca Lael, community engagement librarian.
The library’s most recent exhibit, which will be displayed through Feb. 28, is comprised of an array of prints collectively titled “Ink. Paper. Press” by Saltgrass Printmakers, and a collection of digital and assembled wall hangings by Vincent Mattina, according to Lael.
Saltgrass Printmakers’ Stefanie Dykes and Mattina spoke to The Park Record earlier this week about their works.
Saltgrass Printmakers educate and inspire
Dykes, who, along with Erik and Sandy Brunvand, co-founded art nonprofit Saltgrass Printmakers, aims to engage the community with print art and educates the community about printmaking.
The works exhibited in the Park City Library’s Reading Room touches on these concepts, she said.
“We wanted to show a wide representation of what the printmaking processes are and what the different visual languages looks like,” Dykes said.
In addition to monochrome relief prints, patrons will see colored prints, etchings, screen prints and digital art combinations mixed in.
All the pieces were created by Saltgrass’ international roster of artists, according to Dykes.
“You will also see highlighted moments from our current working members,” she said. “You will see how their visual language is very different from each other, as well as what they have to say in their concepts.”
Saltgrass, which was established 15 years ago, is an open studio, meaning all the artists share the equipment like presses, cutting tables, darkrooms and other workshop tools.
“Each printer works independently,” Dykes said. “Some have their own keys and come in on their own time, while others come in and work directly with me.”
Dykes enjoys the vast range of styles of printmaking, which helps when she is inspired to create a work.
“Screen prints are different than etchings, and lithographies have the quality of drawn marks,” she said. “I do like that it involves a full range of visual languages. So when I get an idea, I have different processes, I can pull from that will support the conceptual development, and create an intuitive conversation between me and my materials.”
The conversation expands when the different artists bring in their different approaches and points of view into a collective exhibit, like the one at the library.
“We are able to address world issues like environmentalism and social justice, but also create more whimsical works,” Dykes said.
There is, however, a common misconception that printmaking isn’t a fine art, she said.
“We can be pretty commercial because some of our materials can come from industrial processes and we do make multiple images,” Dykes said. “But what people don’t realize is that each image we make is an original. So we have multiple originals that aren’t reproductions. And we make a lot of originals because we want to communicate with as many people as we can.”
Dykes also enjoys being part of Saltgrass Printmakers because she gets to help other artists manifest their dreams.
“I work with people to create their visions and creative experiences,” she said. “It’s the best job in the world.”
For information about Saltgrass Printmakers, visit Saltgrassprintmakers.org.
Vincent Mattina blends digital and organic worlds
Mattina creates 2D works, which include layered digital creations. He also makes 3D assemblages made out of found objects.
“All the images at the library are hung on the wall,” he said. “I made these works because I wanted to challenge myself to do something that I have never seen before.”
The theme that threads his works together is the relationship between the mechanical and natural.
“It’s about feeling overwhelmed by technology,” Mattina said. “I was obsessed with that for a while, and from there, I stepped into the creation of more environmental works. I used the same techniques, but designed more landscape works with figures in them.”
Mattina’s knack for visual art reaches back to his elementary school days.
“I remember drawing in kindergarten and trying to draw the most realistic Batmobile I could,” he said. “I was good at it, and (I was) encouraged by my parents to continue drawing.”
Mattina took both fine and commercial art classes in college.
“I wanted to show I could work in art and not be a starving artist my whole life,” he said with a laugh. “I did commercial art for a good 25 years because I had a son and other obligations.”
Mattina returned to fine art in 2009.
“My son joined the Marines, so I had a little more time to do it,” he said.
His work in commercial art and graphic design added a new layer to his fine art pursuits.
“I got pretty efficient with Photoshop, so the next step was to use that program in my process,” Mattina said.
From there, he began creating assemblage art, which includes a samples of digital art.
“I also collect bits and pieces of things that interest me and add them to the works,” he said.
Some of those items include clockwork gears, spark plugs, rocks, metal toys and sticks.
“If I have a theme, whether it’s environmental or otherwise, I will use what I collect to make something,” Mattina said. “There are times when I have to go out and collect more stuff.”
When the artists creates his own two-dimensional digital work, he begins with his own images, whether they are photographs or digital illustrations.
“I add to these images with other images that are inspired by surfing the web,” he said. “I start with the computer, but I always leave room to add things with pencil, charcoal and build on top of that.”
One work he created through this method is titled “Silver King,” according to Lael.
“Vincent told me when he moved to Utah he wanted to see the Silver King Mine, and was sad to see it wasn’t standing,” she said. “So he created a work, and the library acquired it.”
“Silver King” hangs with local artist Patricia Smith’s other Silver King-themed pieces in the Park City Room of the library.
Mattina deems a piece “finished” when he sells it.
“Sometimes I will go back and work on things, but if it doesn’t come out right, then I’ll stop,” he said. “I also don’t like to tell people what the pieces are about because people come up with better descriptions than I do.”
For information, visit vincentmattina.com.
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