Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Breaking Down Elements: Moirés and Pixels

If you’ve walked past Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery recently, you may have noticed it is currently showcasing paintings, letterpress pieces and, oh yeah, a mountainous installation of trees.

These art pieces are the work of New York–based Brad Ewing and Seattle-based Cable Griffith, who are the featured artists at Hedreen Gallery.

Ewing, a specialist in letterpress and silkscreen editions, is showcasing four letterpress pieces of moiré prints. The four pieces are reflective of the building blocks of his trade, showcasing “a little bit of color and a little bit of line, highlight and shadow,” Ewing said.

Ewing is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts and currently runs Marginal Editions, a letterpress and silkscreen company in New York City.

“My interest in any pixelation comes out of design aesthetics,” Ewing said.

The gallery show will also feature four of Ewing’s paintings, which is particularly significant for him.

“I haven’t shown a painting on a wall since I was an undergrad at Cornish,” Ewing said. “The idea behind the paintings was to follow up.”

Typically Ewing draws a design and then translates it into a print and/or painting. Thus, the pieces are in conversation. Sometimes a design comes out better as a print than a painting and vice versa.

“All the paintings in the show were better as paintings,” Ewing said.

He feels it is important to showcase his paintings alongside his prints because it allows for greater artistic freedom.

“You’re not just a painter or a printmaker, in my experience,” Ewing said.

Showing paintings alongside the letterpress pieces demonstrates his message to continue freely experimenting with art.

The exhibition also features works by Griffith. Though he primarily paints, for this exhibition he created a site-specific screen print installation that takes up a large portion of the gallery.

His piece, titled “I Require a Pilot,” is an eight-foot tall mountain. Inspired by the large number of trees in Mt. Rainier’s lush green landscape, the installation features a repetition of this natural symbol.

The installation offers a point of entry for eco-criticism, creating a conversation between the pixelated screen print and the organic, natural theme.

“I’m interested in [technology] in terms of landscape and nature and how our understanding of nature is influenced by real and virtual landscape,” Griffith said. The pixelation of a tree represents how the landscape is reduced down, just as a tree is broken down as paper to be digestible for consumer use.

Technology also plays another role in his theme.

“My work in general is really influenced by this idea of the landscape as described as data,” Griffith said.

He described his style of art as small images, bits and pixels that contribute to the larger whole.

“The pixel becomes a symbol or reference to a larger whole and imagery,” Griffith said.

He refers to the trees and natural elements as commoditized bits that speak to the overall picture, seen in the repetition of the trees in relation to the size of the installation.

The repetition of trees relays another message when viewed as a whole. There are slight variations in the dark and light green colors that compose nautical distress flags. The flags were a standardized form of communication for sailors that relayed a message of being disabled, in need of a pilot, running into danger or requiring a tug when out at sea.

Therefore, the landscape of the trees resonates with an eco-critical theme of the relationship between sea, land and humans.

Both artists experimented with new mediums in their exhibition at Hedreen. Griffith, who is primarily a painter, created a screen print installation to convey a pixelated landscape. Ewing, who primarily creates letterpress and silkscreen prints, decided to showcase paintings alongside his other artwork as a way of following up with some of his earlier art studies.

Ewing and Griffith’s exhibition is on display at Hedreen Gallery in the Lee Center for the Arts now through October 18.

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