by Will Conley
It’s no wonder this show is being toured around the world.
This is a far-reaching, boundary-smashing show. One hundred sixty-five women
from 24 different countries band together in this visionary compendium of art.
The brainchild of Swiss printmakers Barbara Bandi, Susanne Glauser and Carla
Neis, Flying Carpet is densely packed with talent, imagination and innovation.
Every printing technique you can name is used. Style and form differ radically
from piece to piece.
Asked to riff on the
theme, “visions and energies from the woman’s perspective,”
and keep the prints smaller than a square foot, the artists cranked out dreams,
folklore, myth and prayer rendered in print. A lot of fear ripples all through
this Flying Carpet.
“Nowhere to Hide” was created in Australia before the artist, Monique
Auricchio, moved to Bangkok to work for nine months. She says the piece is about
fear of the unknown. The figure represented certainly is unknown to me: standing
in a dark wasteland of sagging buildings is a giant grazing animal with the
body of a coconut, the head of a lamb, and the long legs of a giraffe, all melded
into one new species. “I Feel So Fine,” by Norwegian Astrid Andreasson,
blurs a glimpse of the lone cabin in the woods—the common dream many long
to realize—into an image of foreboding. Who knows what hides in the trees
waiting in ambush as you make your way toward realizing your dream?
The sheer variety of styles and techniques in this show ought
to engross you. Ulrika Budda of Germany writes on an X-ray of her thorax; Thea
Katauskas of Switzerland uses dry point on copperplate to allude to an ambiguous
tale of an unusually formed woman floating proudly over a prairie; Margaret
Ambridge of Australia uses photopolymer etching and hand coloring to show us
a hauntingly blue picture of an old and beautifully creased woman clutching
a lace nighty; Branka Tirkic of Bosnia engraves and etches an XX chromosome
(that which causes the differences between men and women), cleverly fused with
the figure of a man.
Why do so few of the Japanese write an artist statement? Is it because the Japanese
are more visually, rather than linguistically, inclined than the average “Westerner”
and would rather let the work itself speak? Flying Carpet reassures me of my
belief that visual art is the great equalizer upon which humanity can unite
as a Planet.
Flying Carpet runs through April 23. Highpoint Center
for Printmaking, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls. 612-871-1326.