Visions features Kittredge

15 years ago

    Altered impressions opens July 17, in the Blue Moon Gallery at Visions, 66 Main St. in Houlton. The artist, C. Ann Kittredge, is a mixed media artist who teaches drawing, design and printmaking courses for the University of Maine, Presque Isle. Most recently, Kittredge has been making large mixed media works built with collage, ink, paint and other media applied over intaglio prints (etchings). Her repeated use of intaglio images serves to emphasize the theme while visually uniting the individual pieces in a body of related work. At the same time, her layering of images and media speaks to the layers of meaning, reflecting the physical, intellectual and spiritual concerns which inspire her work. Kittredge says that she had a “first life” in science, studying and teaching biology and science for many years. Her art often reflects this background. Much of her imagery arises from a lengthy consideration of issues and phenomena which reside in that area where science, art and spirituality overlap.
    Altered impressions is a series of mixed media works built on a group of etchings made from drawing the live model. As these images were female, the series has a feminine theme. In anthropology, the woman is thought of as having three principle identities: the unknown damsel, the siren, and the mother. Kittredge decided that, in today’s world, it is also necessary to account for the woman of culture, knowledge, and power and for the aged, decrepit female: the sage and crone.
    The Ages of Women series began as a group of works about the travels and experiences of one summer: the art, the incidents, and the geographical locations. Ironically, it also developed into a consideration of women in general and certain women in particular, and of the roles which society imposes on them.
    The Normal School series is the result of an early personal experience followed by many years of reflection. Kittredge recalls:
    When I was a teenager, trying to decide what to do with my life, my father used to say to me, “Why don’t you go to ‘normal school’?” By that time, the term “normal school” for a teacher training institution was obsolete and I found it both strange and amusing. The first actual normal school which I ever saw was the building on Queen Street in Fredericton, New Brunswick. When I first moved there, in 1971, the provincial normal school was in its final year of operation. The name “Normal School” was carved in raised stone relief over the front entrance. Over the years, I thought about the building and the term and its origin and implications. To me, “normal school” sounded like an institution whose mission was to pound square pegs into round holes, thereby rendering them “normal”. Upon returning to Fredericton many years later, I was dismayed to note that, when the building was taken over by the provincial Justice Department, the old name was planed off and the new name was incised in its place; by peering closely, I could still discern the outline of the original letters. I thought that superimposing the name “Justice” was rather ironic and I began to design a work playing with this and related ideas.
    This body of work is what grew out of that early design and the subsequent thinking process. These mixed media works are built on etchings of Fredericton’s normal school portico and the normal curve used in statistics.
    Also included in the show are other works built from prints: geometric constructions; layered, constructed prints; and hand-made books in large, unusual formats.
    Altered Impressions opens on Friday, July 17, with a public reception from 5-7 p.m., eastern daylight time. Sponsored by SACAP (Southern Aroostook Cultural Arts Project), the show is on view through September 4.