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‘Common Threads: A Printmaker’s portal’ – Exhibition by Carolyn Riddell

November 24, 2022 - January 22, 2023

Exhibition dates: November 24, 2022 – January 22, 2023  |  Opening reception with live music: Sunday November 27th from 2-4PM

Carolyn Riddell is a painter and printmaker who muses and makes work about place and memory.

She has had studios in Europe, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Her research and studio practice, active since 1986, is a constant unfolding towards an understanding of material, history, ritual and meaning.

Her visual explorations resound in printmaking, stitch work and assemblages using ready made materials. Prints, wallpaper, weaving, thread work and collected artifacts become Carolyn’s signatures: possibilities for recollection, affirmations of the handmade and the manifestation of personal stories.

In the act of printmaking, one uses a wide variety of processes to affect the printing ‘plate’ and subsequently the physical act of pressure, pulling or peeling transfers an inked ‘matrix’ onto another surface, most commonly, paper. Carolyn’s suite of woodblock prints, uses configured scraps of wood and the Chine Collé process to make circular images reminiscent of mandalas, parasols, kaleidoscopes and gardens. The constructed wood ‘plates’ suggest saw blades, a kind of referential mirroring, a beginning and ending, encased. The woodblock is not just a matrix to receive ink and a vehicle from which to pull a print but a significant object in its own right. Printmaking allows for duplication, multiplication and exponential variations on themes and ideas. It is an open and constantly unfolding process.

Carolyn’s collected lace series, permeated with palimpsests of mistint house paint, are presented as a rogues’ gallery. Threads integrate in each lace work. Arrayed on the wall, possible spaces are created for the anonymous authors of the lace to offer up a possible story. The stitches and gaps calibrate and concretize memory and archive.

Riddell’s mixed media works gel disparate elements. A colonial shelf holds Indian hand carved wood blocks. Ikat thread is set under glass. The vernacular Indian dapka or nakshi thread is juxtaposed with an artifact to offer up a new narrative. A wood table becomes a prayer/voting/ confessional booth of sorts. Hoya plant florets adorn a plexiglass case containing memorabilia. Wood columns recline as both fallen archive and homage to tools of the trade.

The craft of weaving (thread or paint), the repetition of wood block printing, the puncture and pull of thread work, the subtlety of chine collé and the procuring of readymade objects, are for Carolyn, tangents of inquiry offering chances for uptake, breaking, re-configuring and layering. Memory, relationship, poetry and tactility fare into the objects and prints paying a kind of tribute or breakthrough into an object’s placement or identity.

The artist would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Ontario Arts Council for supporting her exhibition project. #ArtsAddValue


To view media coverage of this exhibition please click here.

Join Carolyn for two FREE ARTIST TALKS this month!  For information click here 

About the Artist:

Carolyn Riddell completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Guelph, specializing in printmaking, painting and art history.  She has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions and is the recipient of grants and awards spanning her artistic career.  Her work is represented in public, private and corporate collections in North America, Europe and Asia.  In addition to her painting and printmaking she is active in arts education, teaching drawing, painting and printmaking in Guelph, Ontario.