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Gallery Exhibit Combines Digital Technology with Traditional Art

The paintings, graphic works, etchings and relief prints of guest artists Orie Shafer and Craig Fisher highlight exhibit.

Artwork by Orie Shafer.Artwork by Orie Shafer.The artwork of Orie Shafer and Craig Fisher offer one-of-a-kind perspectives on the surrounding world in their exhibit at the Flora Kirsch Beck Gallery at Alma College.

Their works are on display from Monday, Nov. 13 through Thursday, Dec. 7. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays. A closing reception with the artists will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Shafer’s technique of creating art combines digital technology with the materials and methodology of more traditional art. Several of his pieces use a large digital image as an under-painting to which he adds oil paints. The result is then captured in a digital image. Implementing this technique is something Shafer calls “hybrid painting.”

This process, which often results in the creation of abstract landscapes, evolved from various techniques that he taught his students during his 35-year career as a painting and photography instructor.

“My students have contributed to my work in another fundamental way,” says Shafer. “The digital under-painting source for over 200 of my abstract hybrid paintings were photos taken of a large tabletop that my students used in my painting studio. This table acquired a complex surface, eroded by time and created from years of paint splotches, spills, razor knife cuts and the textures of various glues.”

Fisher uses the Intaglio technique of printmaking. In this, a plate is coated with an acid resistant wax, and then an image is etched into the wax. The plate is then dipped into an acid bath that bites the exposed surfaces of the plate. From there ink is carefully applied to the plate’s surface, and a damp paper is then pressed onto the plate to create the image.

“In etchings, I saw a transformation take place that got me excited,” says Fisher. “Not only was the image reversed, but the bite of the acid gave it a new tactical intensity. It’s as if a mysterious hand redrew the graphic, not always the way you had hoped, but always presenting fresh opportunities.”

Many of Fisher’s works explore organic subject matter from a surreal vantage point. His muses are often objects that aren’t visible to the naked eye but exist on a microscopic level. Examples of such things are pollen grains, insects and fossil remnants.

Story published on November 13, 2017