Developing Art Within a New Space
A conversation with
Main Gallery Exhibitor,
Our current Main Gallery and Studio Gallery exhibitions reinvent typical approaches to using their canvases. Madeline Bartley, our Main Gallery exhibitor, uses her work to address how to navigate dramatic shifts in what is a home-place when everything is unfamiliar and uncertain.
How did you get involved with Book Arts?
I started as a volunteer. I moved to Buffalo after being laid off from my letterpress job in March 2020 and the book arts center was the most fitting place to share my skills.
How did you begin to comvine the arts of embroidery and watercolor together?
I was taking drawing courses in undergrad before I studied printmaking and, in a way, I see embroidery and watercolor as forms of drawing. Looking back, I combined printmaking, drawing, and embroidery in a series made in 2015. I was less interested in making multiples of the same printed image and enjoyed spending time drawing on top of a screen print or a woodcut.
What is the story behind choosing to display sketchbooks in your exhibition?
I enjoy being able to share the process of artmaking with an audience. Displaying my sketchbooks allows me to reveal my creative spirit and how I develop better intentions in artmaking. The sketches present a motivation to keep going and inform how the body of framed artworks came to be.
How has living in WNY affected your artwork?
Overall, I have a greater sense of commitment to making art. Relocating here was not a disruption to my creative practice, in fact it gave me permission to start fresh and experiment. The work I am making now has a clarity that stands apart from anything made previous to living here.
What do you want audiences to gain from your exhibition?
I want to gently remind my audience as we transition through chapters in life that it is absolutely fine to slowly adjust to dramatic changes. Be aware that a person’s life may be starting all over again. And for those who are struggling, I want to advocate making time for yourself. I encourage audience members to try out a daily sketch or journaling as a starting point.
“I want to gently remind my audience as we transition through chapters in life that it is absolutely fine to slowly adjust to dramatic changes”
This blog post was written by Book Arts Gallery Assistant, Nina Grenga. Nina is currently getting her Master’s at the University at Buffalo in Critical Museum Studies with a concentration in Arts Management.