The Estevan Art Gallery and Museum's (EAGM) Gallery II is currently the site of a printmaking exhibit whose focus is fish and creativity.
Saskatoon artist Monique Martin was at the EAGM on September 6 for an opening reception for the exhibit, which is called "Flow." She said the first inspiration came 30 years ago, when she was 12 years old and fishing with her brother.
"The fish kept swimming by, and doing that whole thing that fish do, where they flow around," said Martin. "I was fascinated by the whole thing. My brother was freaking out because they weren't biting."
While she was lecturing at the University of British Columbia in 2007, Martin saw that a student had a book named "Flow," and it generated memories of watching the fish. That book was all about the moment of flow when involved with something creative.
"It can be really loud," said Martin. "It could be dinner time. Somebody could call you to eat, and you forget, because you're in that moment. That's what the book is about – how to get into that moment. Generally … those moments are when your mind is being challenged. You're not going to get into that moment when mowing the lawn or doing laundry."
"Flow" employs printmaking with a reductive technique.
"I start with a block, I print one colour, I cut some more off, I print on top of it, and I print and I print and I print until I get to the final colour," said Martin. "And then there's nothing left of the block I used to create it."
Martin also used layers of paper, so that means that the fish on the pages have varying levels of visibility. Those on the front paper are sharp and easily seen; others appear faded since they're on the rear sheet.
"I did that intentionally because I think part of human society is transparency," said Martin. "We believe everybody is as transparent as they can be, but in different situations, a person's transparency changes."
People also flow towards a common goal, she said, such as those working in an office setting.
Martin views printmaking as a complex process. A mistake can ruin hours of work, but the finished product creates a wonderful feeling.
"It is kind of a lost art form as well," said Martin. "It's something that's going by the wayside with technology and all those things. People ask 'Why would you carve a block?'"
Martin concluded the reception by demonstrating her printmaking techniques, and teaching the art form to people in attendance.