When she worked as a graphic artist in print media, Carolyn Gracz spent much of her time sitting shapes within confined spaces on a page.
Her attraction to and deftness in handling shapes has served her well in her first Shift show, Reconstructed, through April 26.
“Really lovely prints,” art critic Jen Graves of The Stranger mentioned about about Carolyn’s work. A friend of Carolyn’s who took a sneak preview before the show’s opening called her and asked her to place a red dot.
“Definitely my graphic design background seeps into what I’m doing in printmaking,” Carolyn said. “So now I’m a printmaker and I just had my first show. It’s kind of exciting.”
One of Carolyn’s major projects as a graphic designer had been to serve as art director of a high-end travel magazine that was privately published. She never got to jet off to Paris for her job though she did once hitch a ride on the Concord from New York to Dallas/Fort Worth. Still, the subject of travel fueled her current love of venturing to Europe and beyond with her family. And traveling, whether it’s merely walking the dog in the neighborhood or sojourning in a favorite part of Ireland that her family revisits, has definitely informed her work.
Her series “Formes” are abstracted shapes from buildings in muted colors that she admired in Paris–also from the iconic facade of Basilica di Santo Spirito in Florence.
Another landscape series in blacks and blues emerged from a photo she took of the shape of a dangling branch and the shadow it cast.
“I always like to take the time to notice the details because there are so many beautiful shapes everywhere. I can always extrapolate from shapes,” she said.
Carolyn is drawn to texture as well, as evidenced in the architecturally themed veneer prints in her show.
Both form and texture are bound to resurface in her work for some time to come. She just returned from a family spring vacation to some of the major red rock monuments of the Southwest, where she found herself snapping tons of photos of crazy and colorful rock shapes.
Of her next Shift show, she confidently predicted, “I think the Southwest trip is going to show up.”