JULY 2024—

I began printmaking in 2010 with master printmaker, Mark Lunning, at the Art Students League of Denver after having worked previously with tempera paint and oil pastel. The exhibit includes original monotype prints from 2011, 2015, 2017, and 2023. In addition to oil-based ink on paper, the exhibit includes an example of chine collé and viscosity roll.

I stepped into the visual arts in the 1970s as a “straight” photographer with a penchant for photographing people. When my need to connect more deeply with my subjects prompted me to record their stories on tape as well as film, I realized that visual and verbal images make good bedfellows. (Reference my three books, You May Plow Here: The Narrative of Sara Brooks, 1986 and 2023; Dancing Girl: Themes and Improvisations in a Greek Village Setting, 1991; and Dances in Two Worlds: a writer-artist’s backstory, 2011.)

In the 1980s, my desire to turn the lens inward superseded my urge to focus on others. I shelved the tape recorder and grabbed my pen, retired my camera and reached for a brush. I began painting with a Jungian art therapist. Content overshadowed artistic convention—hence the outsider, psychological quality of my early work. Later, I turned to process painting—painting spontaneously without analysis or judgment. Guided by intuition, my work took on dimensions I could not have conceived or executed by intellect alone. The color and movement make apparent a level of vitality that I do not otherwise easily express—even in writing. The paintings proclaim the life-sustaining power of creative self-expression.

To eliminate the possibility that descriptive titles would bias the viewer’s response to my images, I identify each one by number only. We hope you will approach each piece in the exhibit with openness and curiosity, and that you will honor your personal experience of each object on display in addition to and apart from trying to understand the artist’s intention in creating it. The creative process can be deeply personal, revealing, and meaningful. So, too, the viewing.

© copyright Thordis Niela Simonsen
June 2024
Salida, Colorado