GLADYS TIETZ MERCIER
My work is a visual journal of my experiences. A major component of that is a sense of place, landscape through changing seasons and abstract transitions. I am concerned with life cycles, birth, death, fertility and decay. Patterns in nature provide formal structure, composition, color as well as fascinating imagery.
I am a photographer with a printmaking background, involved in the metamorphosis of an image. My pictures start in the camera. Then I work through an evolutionary process using digital imaging software. A finished piece may be a single photograph or multiple images grouped together as in The Sorcerer and the Apprentice or an abstract manipulation as in White Flare. I find the computer can be very seductive. In moving from nature to form, color and texture, I have to be careful not to allow the image to become too facile or trite. I can work faster than if I would draw or paint. It allows me to explore myself and break away from static, repetitious serial practice. The work comes together with a signature.
Within nature’s beauty there is not only peace and comfort but also destruction and discord. Beneath the facade of a simpler more basic life, there is a complexity that mimics the harshness of Midwest seasons. Spring is calfing, planting, gardening. Summer's heat is drying. Prairies bow in a gentle breeze. It is prime season for daylilies and coneflowers. Weather provides an intensity beyond contrast. August is all about corn, providing a vehicle, a metaphor for regeneration, sustainable energy, and decay. The stalks take on human characteristics. Individual stalks are "stalkers". Fields become dense "cities" of tunnels, a maze of maise, uncharted territory. Then in a flash, it is harvest. The stalks are raised to the ground and a barren emptiness, black dirt takes its place. Hunting season starts. The cycle begins again.
Scale and color are very important to my work. With new technology, I can print various sizes, larger than life size at 6' height and various widths. I have always loved paper, different surfaces and finishes allow for new definition of work on paper. I can print the long narrow pieces and wall- hang them, eliminating difficulty with frames and shipping.
The photographs are printed on archival papers with a satin finish.
The biggest challenge I face as a “realist” and photographer is to make the ordinary, extraordinary. As art reflects life, there are some philosophical and cultural undercurrents that drive my work. Can art be substantial yet decorative? Must it be provocative? Does visual imagery have to be "edgy" to be taken seriously? Are boundaries in feminine/masculine visual cultures inevitable? What is the truth when the camera can distort, disguise and manipulate?