Quirk Gallery welcomes back Richmond artist, Mary Holland, for a new solo exhibition of her recent work. Tangled Up In Blue: Cyanotypes by Mary Hollandopens in Quirk's Main Gallery on Thursday, May 24 with a reception that evening from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. The work will be on view through Sunday, July 8.
The cyanotype, or sun print, is an alternative photographic printing process that produces a rich Prussian blue print using a photo sensitive solution of iron salts rather than silver salts. These prints are made on 100% rag watercolor paper or Kozo paper hand coated with cyanotype solution (Potassium Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Citrate) and allowed to dry in a dark room. The cyanotype paper is then exposed to the sun or an ultraviolet light using lace, stencils, negatives, objects or drawings on a transparent surface. After exposure, the unexposed solution is washed off the paper and the image is “fixed” with water. Each print is unique.
"I am frequently surprised how this alchemical process transforms tattered and yellowed textiles into other worldly photographic images," says Holland.
British chemist & astronomer Sir John Herschel invented the cyanotype process in 1842 as a means to copy letters. It was later used to make camera-less photograms, notably of botanical specimens, by Anna Atkins.
Because it is one of the easiest and simplest photographic printing processes to use, it was often used by early photographers to make proof prints. It also found widespread use in architecture and engineering firms as a way of copying drawings and plans, called “blueprints”.
Holland is a professional artist, educator and the Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School. She has been awarded five Visual Arts Residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia. Her solo exhibition, The Magic Show, was exhibited last year in Quirk Hotel's Mezzanine space. That collection combined print techniques including cyanotype printing, gelli prints, and other explorations made during her summer residency the previous year. "I enjoy making cyanotypes on printed papers and further develop them with collaged elements," Holland explains.
Tangled Up In Blue was exhibited at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas prior to its exhibition at Quirk Gallery.