Crowds and Barriers, Animated monotypes

Patty Smith and Claire Cefu Fouquet ­­

This exhibition represents a collaboration between Patty Smith and Claire Cefu Fouquet. The monotypes and animation connect both the concepts and techniques of each artist. Patty Smith has been working on a series of images entitled Barriers since 2007 that was inspired by press coverage of the U.S. action to build fences to keep out illegal immigrants. Claire Fouquet created an animation in 2006 that addressed the impact of immigration laws in France and the protests against them. The collaborative work evolved into an expanded notion of barriers, not only physical but also psychological. The Process of collaboration also presents its own barriers. The challenge was in making the individual personal aesthetics merge; in overcoming the lack of knowledge or self-confidence when dealing with each other’s field of expertise; in following a new direction through partnership; and in discovering the partner’s artistic personality. Each artist begins with her own imagery, then creates “in-betweens” that are collaborative works for the animation, making “ends” meet. The artists lead each other to explore unfamiliar fields. The process reflects the concept, asking the questions; what prevents us from getting to where we want to go? What do we hope to discover, achieve, acquire if we break through the barrier and arrive.

For both artists, mark making is integral to their work. Fouquet’s animation work most often begins with watercolor, but she is also an avid printmaker. Smith works with drawing and printmaking. With both artists’ imagery, the marks reference the figurative but tend toward the abstract.

Fouquet and Smith have been working together in the edition studio on the 6th floor of Anderson Hall for three weeks at the University of the Arts to produce twenty-five monotypes and to create a short animation. On the left wall are the monotypes beginning with Smith’s barriers and ending with Fouquet’s crowds in protest. The images between are collaborations, sometimes one artist replicating the marks of the other and sometimes actually working on the same monotype plate. When these images are put together as an animation they make sense as one evolving and cohesive work. The wall on the right holds the work that inspired the collaboration.

The audio for the animation is provided by “Rumble”, the Bucket Ensemble, of the University of the Arts, made up of students from across the University and under the direction of Marc Dicciani, Director of the School of Music, College of Performing Arts, The University of the Arts. The two works seemed to be compatible from the beginning; only a small bit of synchronizing was needed to bring the audio and visual together.

Patty Smith is an Associate Professor, Fine Arts/ Printmaking and the MFA Book Arts/Printmaking Program. Claire Cefu Fouquet teaches the art of animation at École Européenne Supérieure de L’image, Poitiers and Angoulême, France. This work is the beginning of a larger project. They will continue their collaboration in France in the spring of 2013.