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Modern, ancient techniques meet in Gammage exhibit


April 01, 2009

Two artists with two different approaches to their work will share exhibit space at ASU Gammage April 15-June 21.

Heather J. Kirk, a photographer from Scottsdale, and Agustín Vargas of Phoenix, whose media includes watercolor, oil, silver point, gold leaf and etchings, are the featured artists.

Kirk will show two collections of photography, titled “ Forgotten Landscapes” and “The Exposed Series: Flowers on Black.”
“Flowers on Black” features brilliant flowers that seem to be floating in solid black space. “Taking flowers we suppose we know well, and separating them contextually, causes the viewer to see colors more richly and examine each deal in its intricacy,” Kirk said.

In “Forgotten Landscapes,” Kirk points her camera lens to sights that “require us to risk stopping on freeways and thoroughfares, slipping down drainage ditches, sidestepping snakes and burrs and thorns, or sinking deep into mud. They insist that we slow down. And when we finally do, we suddenly see their desolate beauty.”

Kirk, a Chicago native, now works as a fine-art photographer, writer and graphic designer in Scottsdale. Traditionally drawn to color, her first trek into black and white occurred as team photographer for a medical mission to Wanless Hospital in Miraj, India.

Vargas, who was born in Coyoacán, Mexico, graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Mexico, Mexico City, and also studied at the Fine Arts National Institute of Mexico City and the Art Academy of San Carlos, Mexico.

He is a member of the Arizona Print Group, Arizona Artists Guild and the National Watercolor Society.

He says, “My work is created from a foundation of ancient techniques combined with themes that are current and contemporary. I have studied the techniques of the masters of the Italian Renaissance, such as Leonardo de Vinci and Michelangelo.”

“Likewise, this is how I prepare my bases with a gesso I mix myself following ancient methods or ‘recipes.’ Sometimes I use silver point like Leonardo used in his drawings. Other materials and media include egg tempera and oil paints that employ the Venetian technique, using varnishes and natural resins. I often add burnished 24-karat gold leaf and silver leaf, as were used on the religious icons.”

Exhibit hours at ASU Gammage are 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, or by appointment. Due to rehearsals, event set-up, performances, special events and holidays, it is advisable to call (480) 965-6912 to ensure viewing hours, since they are subject to cancellation without notice.
Visiting parking is available at meters around the perimeter of ASU Gammage. Entrance is through the East Lobby Doors.

For more information, or to make an appointment to see the exhibit, call (480) 965-6912.