The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present PrintWorks: Ann Conner and Oceanic Meditations: Paintings by Robin Braun opening Friday, September 9 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run September 9 to October 1, 2016.

Ann Conner’s distinct woodcuts are best known for bringing bold colors and playful shapes into dialogue with the natural grain of the woodblock surface. According to Conner, “Working in woodcut is always a challenge as the grain of the wood is so captivating.” Her practice embraces this challenge, juxtaposing the material’s intrinsic, organic curves with readymade images inked in the familiar hues of suburban landscapes. Synergistic balance is paramount in Conner’s work, and her use of mechanical tools and fastidious measurement lends her woodcuts a striking precision that mediates the wood’s more seductive, fluid contours.

Conner begins her process by sketching images derived from readymade templates, such as cookie cutters, craft objects, spirograph tools, and French curves. Putting a high-tech spin on the oldest form of printmaking, she uses a high-speed power chisel to carve these designs into non-endangered wood. The carvings become prints through Conner’s collaboration with the artists at Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas and Grenfell Press in New York City. Working closely with these printing teams, Conner tests all possible color combinations against each idiosyncratic wood-grain background, until each print possesses the balance and harmony both to stand up on its own, and as part of a larger series. The result is a playful body of work that meditates on the visual relationships between line, color, and material.

Ann Conner is based in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she is Professor Emerita and former chair in the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Department of Art and Art history. She received her BFA from Salem College in 1970 and MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. In the past four decades, she has exhibited nationally and internationally, earned several important awards—including the UNCW Faculty Scholarship Award and Faculty Research Reassignment Award—and has been included in over a dozen publications. At present, her prints can be found in over fifty major museum and corporate collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond.

Robin Braun’s seascapes portray the Atlantic Ocean with expert precision and striking detail. Based on a weeklong exploration along the beaches of the Outer Banks, these oil paintings demonstrate Braun’s deep understanding of the ocean and its daily transformations between dawn and dusk. According to Braun, “It was a new (and surprising) experience for me to see the ocean from dawn until dark and see all of the permutations the sky and water go through in one day, and the truly dramatic differences in mood that accompany those changes.” At the same time, she is also intrigued by the delicate relationship between the ocean and weather, which she portrays with notable prowess. In some works, a stormy, ominous sky hovers over the turbulent sea; in others, the peaceful, glistening water reflects a clear sky above. In each case, the mood is palpable, as Braun’s stunningly photorealistic style captures every nuance in the sea’s color, texture, and behavior. Though small in size, these paintings fully convey the vastness of the ocean, portraying on a powerfully intimate scale its capacity for both terrifying violence and beautiful stillness.